Saint-Germain is an area of Paris that’s absolutely bursting with history. Once home to a number of writers and philosophers, it’s now one of the most sophisticated arrondissements in the city. You’ll find a number of bars and cafés here, including the grand Café de Flore and gin specialist Tiger.
Les Deux Magots, which opened in 1885, is steeped in history: it was frequented by Arthur Rimbaud, Pablo Picasso and Simone de Beauvoir, and is referenced in works spanning Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel Lolita to the Hollywood blockbuster Inception (2010). On the menu you’ll find French staples like croque-monsieur and foie gras, or you can order a hot chocolate while you sit on the terrace and people-watch in one of Paris’s most upscale neighbourhoods.
Another Saint-Germain café with a colourful past, Café de Flore is housed in a gorgeous Art Deco building that’s seen Jean-Paul Sartre and Pablo Picasso pass through its doors. The prices are steep, even by Paris standards (expect to fork over €5 for an espresso), but it’s worth it considering the café’s place in the city’s history.
Coutume is serious about coffee. As well as serving up brews sourced from all over the world, the team at Coutume also supply coffee to restaurants and hotels across Paris. The coffee is an excellent match for the food on offer. Brunch at the weekends is especially popular, so get in early to enjoy a meal like the Brunch Les Ogres (scrambled eggs, baked potato topped with hazelnuts and chives, bacon and a selection of pastries) in the airy, industrial space.
Marcello is an Italian restaurant, café and bar that is warm and welcoming and serves up seriously good food. Here, you can tuck into delicious Italian fare or simply sit on the heated terrace with a cocktail like the Al Capone (bourbon, Cynar, Gran Classico, espresso and balsamic vinegar).
The first bar à gin in Paris, Tiger has arguably the best gin selection in town, with 130 variations on offer. Try one of the classic gin and tonics (complete with rosemary sprigs lit on fire by the bartender) or go for one of its gin-heavy cocktails like the Oh My Dog, which features pepper-infused gin, pomegranate liqueur, lime and raspberry cordial and ginger ale.
Part of the Experimental Cocktail Club family, Prescription Cocktail Club is a speakeasy-like space that manages to be quirky without being too pretentious – think light fittings shaped like bowler hats, old books on display and cosy leather banquettes. Enjoy one of the expertly mixed cocktails in the bar downstairs or find the upstairs bar hidden behind a bookshelf.