On a cold December afternoon earlier this month, my friend David and I ventured into Cafe Malongo on 50 Rue Saint-André des Arts in Paris to warm our bones up with some coffee and a pastry. Okay maybe two.
There are a couple other locations in the city as well including 5 Rue du Marché Saint-Honoré and 31 Rue du Départ.
Sure, there are plenty of fabulous coffee shops in Paris and more often than not (okay, always), I prefer the unique one-offs, the independent stores and shops with owners and managers who put their whole heart and soul into the place.
And although I avoid Starbucks as often as I can (sometimes people insist on meeting there — sigh), Cafe Malongo is one of those places that has ‘chain’ aspects to it (after all, there are a few locations in Paris), but is also a bit funky and unlike some of the cafes where you can’t find a place to sit because it’s so small, Cafe Malongo is fairly large in scale, at least the location on Rue Saint-Andre des Arts that is.
They off coffees (and even have a decaf, so if you have caffeine issues, this may be your place), since it’s difficult to find a coffee bar in Paris who will give you a decaf. Says my Parisian friends, a coffee without caffeine is not a coffee. I happen to agree but I still can’t drink caffeine in the late afternoon and evening.
They draw cute patterns on the top of the coffee foam as well (see below) and have a handful of pastry and cake-like options to choose from if you have a sweet tooth at the same time you’re craving a hot coffee. Also unlike many traditional Parisian coffee shops, they also have a wide selection of tea to choose from. Note: it’s not cheap.
They also have a long table so you can share if you’d like to meet new people or go off in the corner and sit by yourself. Photos below will give you an idea of the ambiance.
If traveling to Paris, check out some of the Paris hotels we’ve covered in the past as well as this section on WBTW and for food/wine in Paris. Photo credits: Renee Blodgett.