Montmartre runs deeper than the Sacré Coeur and the portrait-sketching scene that has been frozen in time here for tourists. Once the home of artists, this hilltop Parisian village is now full of cafés bustling with locals. We explore the cobblestone streets to bring you its best local coffee spots.
The hilltop of Montmartre runs deeper than Sacré Coeur and the potrait-sketching scene that has been frozen in time for beret-clad tourists / Pixabay
Perched in between the steps of the Lamarck area, this bohemian gluten-free gem prepares freshly made salads, soups and of course, coffee. The lovely space with its rustic tables and worn-out tile patterns, has a dedicated legion of students and families craving a healthier option to regular heavy French cuisine. The lunch menu changes daily, and includes quinoa, mushroom soup, and take-out coffee for those on the run. They also serve cakes, scones, and if you figure out the riddle on the chalkboard at the counter, you’ll get a free madeleine.
Cafe Marlette was once a bread-and-pastries-only brand run by sisters Margaux and Scarlette, but has recently branched out to serve more organic specialties beyond scones and cakes. Stop by on a Sunday for brunch to taste their gourmet honey and walnut oil sandwich, quiche, Beillevaire cheeses and filtered coffee from the Maison Coutume. The minimal lighting and relaxed vibe of the café make for a comfy spot to spend the weekend among friends, and is a favorite of many Parisians.
Walk up the Rue de Martyrs towards Pigalle and you’ll run into Beans on Fire, otherwise known as KB Café. They take their beans seriously here with a different daily filter featuring coffee ranging from Kenya and Miramar to Costa Rica.The café has plenty of outdoor seating, but on colder days, finding a seat for two on the long picnic tables inside may be tough during peak hours.
Wander off from the Marcadet-Poissoniers metro stop past the graffiti-covered walls to the jewel that is Café Lomi. This warehouse turned industrial coffee shop houses a visible laboratory, with coffee machines and grinders testing their beans from El Salvador and Ethiopia. The vast coffee menu and seriousness of the crowd, a mix of businessmen and coffee fanatics, might be intimidating when ordering, but you can sign up for a tasting class here if you’re keen on learning more about the art of coffee.
Set off for the familiar cobblestone streets of Rue Lepic where the historic Café des Deux Moulins still stands, between flower shops and memories of the curious Amélie Poulain. Though a common ground for film fans and Moulin Rouge tourists, the red booths of the interior café and its traditional French brasserie menu are a must for the experience of coffee-drinking and people-watching at a typical Parisian café.
Le Bal Café is a local secret wedged in a narrow alley off Avenue de Clichy. Slightly outside Montmartre, but definitely worth mentioning, Le Bal Café is part of a photography gallery and beloved for its coffee and diverse English menu. Stop by for brunch of hearty Welsh rabbit, kedgeree (hard-boiled eggs on rice with a light curry sauce), or rhubarb crumble (if it hasn’t already sold out).
Cuillier, Rue Yvonne le Tac | Courtesy of Café Cuillier
Founded as a roastery in 1844, Cuillier was reinvented as a café with the newest location on rue Yvonne le Tac (right off Metro Abbesses). Their preference for the slow brewing method using coffee-maker Chemex (a manual pour-over style glass container) rebels against traditional French coffee styles, but their signature Blend 21 is reason enough to become a regular here.
Courtesy of Café Cuillier | Courtesy of Café Cuillier
Maybe it’s a café or maybe an eclectic concept store with a coffee bar. Whatever it is, Le Rocketship looks like a papeterie where you can shuffle through puzzles, plants, and books, and sit at the bar while being served coffee by the owner himself, photographer Benoît Touche. You might want to be in a chatty mood for your visit, however; the small space and three seats at the bar make it a cozy environment where there’s not much else to do but chat with Touche, although taking in the photographer’s globetrotting stories in search for the shop’s unique trinkets make for a good conversation.
Right at the top of Montmartre this pocket-size coffee shop is reminiscent of the Boot Café in matters of space. Melali Coffee Riders is a tiny café with a clear South-American vibe; wicker chairs, tropical plants, paint peeling off the walls, and (the reason why most locals visit) their guayoyo, a delicious traditional Venezuelan coffee. Climbing uphill for their coffee is worth the trek, and the modest décor is masked by their richness in coffee. Try a piece of the citron cake with it.