From bookshops to hotels, restaurants and cafés, a variety of Parisian businesses simply can’t do without their purring mascots. While some are the managers’ pets and others were taken on for practical purposes, a few simply rocked up one day and kept coming back, beloved by the clientele. So there's no need to set bowls of milk out on your doorstep if you're craving cat-shaped cuddles – the hometown of the 'Aristocats' has more friendly felines awaiting your visit than you’ll have time for.
>> Click on the arrows to meet Paris's friendliest cats.
Shakespeare often used the cat metaphor as an insult, but Shakespeare and Co. pet Kitty would no doubt have softened his attitude. Soft and white, Kitty spends his days wandering bookcases and watching shop visitors go by. If you’re lucky, he just might join you in one of the plush upstairs armchairs for a tummy rub during a book launch or a reading. Shakespeare & Co. regularly hosts aspiring writers (also known as Tumbleweeds), providing them with beds for the night free of charge in exchange for just a few hours of work stacking books. With these folk constantly coming and going, Kitty always leads a sociable life.
‘How much is that kitty in the window?’ you might ask as you stroll up the Rue de Rome and past violin shop Le Canu Millant. Helypse spends most of his days rolling around in the window display, listening to customers try out the shop’s beautiful selection of violins. This large two-year-old Maine Coon weighs a whopping 15kg and rules over his canine companion, a wire-haired daschund. This friendly cat has never laid a claw on a customer – let alone on any of the precious instruments strewn around the shop.
See if you can spot Pilou hiding among the dolls at La Maison de Poupée. Docile and charming, this cat fits right in amongst his porcelain companions. Found in the gutter as a kitten, this cat certainly has airs about him now. Pilou is the pride and joy of his doting owners and will happily pose for all of your pictures.
King of the Musée de Montmartre, black cat Salis watches visitors stroll through his home: the Renoir gardens and a 17th century manor that serves as an exhibition building. Harking back to the Au Chat Noir cabaret and named after its founder, this green-eyed beauty adds homeliness and charm to the museum, which once also housed less furry famous faces like Auguste Renoir and Suzanne Valadon.
For a quick kitty fix, Le Café des Chats is the ideal place to go for a few strokes. Inspired by similar 'neko' cafés in Japan, this café offers coffee and cakes in the company of furry friends. Sit back in one of the comfortable sofas and let the cuddles come to you. These friendly cats have been adopted from animal centres and the café owners leave them up to their own devices, free to wander in and out of the café day and night.
Playful and friendly, Birman cats Fa-raon and Kléopatre rub shoulders with the chicest of clients at their home, Hôtel le Bristol, just a few paces from the Champs-Elysées. The hotel’s loyal following of fashionistas and millionaires have grown fond of the hotel’s fluffy companions. Adopted in 2010 and 2014 they are partners in crime, free to roam around the hotel – though they are, of course, kept well away from the hotel’s three Michelin-starred restaurant led by head chef Eric Fréchon.
The Café de l’Industrie’s mascot is anything but industrious – you'll find Mimine lazily prowling around the décor of crocodile skins and African figurines, or wallowing in the heat of the cosy café lamps. She likes to show up beside unsuspecting customers for a stroke and a snooze, purring softly along to the café’s comforting murmur. If you can’t find her, wander over the road – she’s likely relaxing in the café’s extended space.