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The Cats Of Paris: French, Feline, Fabulous

Picture of Clare McVay
Updated: 21 December 2016
They have hair groomed to perfection, eyes you can’t say no to, and all the airs and graces of the French aristocracy. And while these are not the models of Paris Fashion Week, these are creatures of catwalks nonetheless. Some hang out in book shops, some in luxury hotels, and others in crumbling graveyards. They are the cats of Paris.

Literary Cats – Shakespeare and Co.

Shakespeare and Co, Paris’s famous book store, has long been known to house what it refers to as ‘tumbleweeds’ on its third floor. While only struggling artists and writers were originally blowing through the store’s doors, word must have got out, for increasingly furrier friends seem to be setting up shop amongst the bookshelves. Sadly the shop recently lost the company of Kitty, a big white cat who was so popular with tourists that many asked for its portrait to be sketched on the title page of their newly purchased books. However, the legacy of Kitty lives on; mysteriously last winter, almost as if it had sensed an upcoming vacancy, a ginger cat was found one morning curled up in the crime section. For this reason, she was named Aggie, after Agatha Christie. Her most common spot nowadays however, rather sweetly, is amongst the other tumbleweeds on the third floor.

Main Shop: Everyday, 10am to 11pm

37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris

Shakespeare and Co
Shakespeare and Co | © darwin.wins/Flickr

Pampered Cats – Aristide Hotel

You know when your cat just gets really overwhelmed and needs a holiday? In the 9ème arrondisement there happens to be a hotel for just that. Imagined by two Parisians, Aristide (feline), and Gauthier (human), it was after working with vets, trainers and a cat-friendly interior designer, that in March 2014 the Aristide Hotel became a reality. 25 bedrooms, 2 suites, 1 playroom, and 1 boutique. With everything from personalized menus to spa treatments, your cat really won’t want to leave. If you want to see inside this unique hotel (the first of its kind in Paris) you will probably need a cat to book in, or plead to become employed as one of their professional cat-sitters.

11 rue Ambroise Thomas 75009 Paris, +33 01 42 46 86 46

The Cat Playroom
The Cat Playroom | Courtesy of Aristide Hotel

Morbid Cats – Père Lachaise Cemetery

No one is quite sure why, but this famous Paris graveyard seems to have a gang of cats roaming its grounds. It may just be that they choose to pad about the graveyards for the same reason as you or I might – it’s peaceful, and if you stare at people long enough from behind a gravestone, they might give you some free food. But with their unfaltering gazes, and the company they keep, one can start to see why it was cats that witches favored, and that the Egyptians chose to worship. So as you ponder by the side of Oscar Wilde or shed a tear for Edith Piaf, be sure to keep your wits about you – you never know what forces are at work here.

16 Rue du Repos 75020 Paris.

Père Lachaise
Père Lachaise | ©istolethetv/Flickr

Bohemian Cats – Musée de Montmartre

Named after the founder of the famous cabaret Le Chat Noir, Salis is a permanent resident at the Musée de Montmartre in the north of Paris. The museum is well worth a visit, with exhibitions in homage to the bohemian artists that once roamed the cobbled slopes and gave Montmartre its free-spirited reputation. One such artist was Théophile Steinlen, artist of the famous Tournée du Chat Noir poster, which advertised Salis’ nototrious cabaret. As you stroll through the Jardins de Renoir at the Museum, you might be able to see the resemblance between the picture and this modern, furry muse.

Musée de Montmartre, 12 Rue Cortot, 75018, Paris, +33 01 49 25 89 39

Caffeinated Cats – Café des Chats

Following a growing trend for cat cafés, this establishment provides a veritable refuge for cats, while simultaneously serving great cups of tea. Win win. Located in the 3ème arrondissement, the café adopts cats from three different charities, all which save cats which have been abandoned, or are in danger of being put down. The cats are chosen for their sociable nature, to ensure that they will be comfortable sharing their new living quarters with a constant stream of humans as well as other rescued felines. The welfare of these moggies is paramount, and for this reason guests are forbidden from feeding the felines from their own plate – while one little piece of a salmon quiche won’t hurt, up to forty little pieces a day may well have some effect on the kitties’ waist lines. If you yourself are interested in a bite to eat however, with some accompanying cat company, be sure to drop by. Reservation is recommended.

16 rue Michel Le Comte, 75003, Paris

Paris cat café
Paris cat café | ©Jeri Dansky/ Flickr

Comic Cats – Sergi, Norman fait des Videos

This black cat is probably as much an internet sensation as his vlogging master, Norman. The famous Frenchman, popular particularly with teenage girls, broadcasts videos on YouTube expressing his growing list of frustrations in life; ranging from flirting difficulties to the minefields that are birthdays. However, one of his most popular videos amongst internet users is unsurprisingly all about the frustrations of owning a cat. Since then, Sergi, the cat with attitude, has gathered over 2100 likes on Facebook, and continues to delight in all his supporting roles. You will find the video in question on you tube, with available English subtitles.

Disruptive Street Artist Cats – Monsieur Chat

If you have walked the streets of Paris for any length of time, or even passed through its metro tunnels, you may have encountered Monsieur Chat/Mr Cat. However before you fill your pockets with treats and go in search of him, you should know that he is only an artistic, graffiti creation. Thoma Vuille, the cat’s artist, explains that he places Monsieur Chat in Paris’ streets, on its walls, and in plain sight of its inhabitants in an attempt to contribute to the city’s story, and to take part in the exchange and creation of ideas that comes from living within such close proximity to others. Same reason we post cat videos on our walls right” Monsieur Chat recently faced fines from the rail network RATP for taking up space in their underground tunnels. Luckily the charges did not hold, and so he continues to bring light relief a sometimes too serious Paris.

Monsieur Chat
Monsieur Chat | ©Damien Roué/ Flickr