‘Let them eat cake’ said Marie Antoinette. Allegedly. Allegedly, because according to Wiki and to her biographer Antonia Fraser she never uttered those immortal words.
Whoever uttered them those words in French are actually ‘Qu’ils mangent de la brioche’ which makes a deal more sense as brioche can be had, in France, by the cartload as can patisseries, macaroons, choux buns, and gooey creamy eclairs whereas procuring a slice of proper cake, well that’s a Herculean task.
I wasn’t actually seeking cake on my recent trip to Paris but what I was hoping to find was a great cup of coffee. I know parts of Paris reasonably well and I have fallen into the habit of frequenting cafés I am familiar with, some of them serve passable coffee but nothing that could be classed as sublime. In fact, sometimes I’ve thought it would be easier to happen across a lost Picasso masterpiece at a car boot sale than find an utterly lovely grand crème in the City of Light.
However, just before I went to Paris at the end of November I bought a copy of Trish Deseine’s excellent ‘The Paris Gourmet’ which is full of recommendations for restaurants, cafés and food shops in the French capital and one of her suggestions for a place serving good coffee is Coutume Café.
Coutume which is run by a Franco Australian duo is at 47 Rue de Babylone in Paris’s fashionable seventh arrondissement and it’s a stone’s throw away from the Le Bon Marché department store. The café is a high-ceilinged space, the decor is industrial, a tasteful Beaubourg-esque mish-mash and it’s a very busy and buzz-y place. It look’s like a coffee geek’s dream spot as there’s a raft of specialized coffee related equipment and in truth I wasn’t sure what most of it was for.
But what I am sure of, having had a flat white in Coutume, is that it was by far and away the best cup of coffee I have ever had in Paris. I couldn’t resist having a slice of the tempting looking Victoria sponge and that too was good.
Cutoume is open for breakfast and lunch and I will for sure try the breakfast there next time I am in Paris. Having hit the caffeine jackpot at Coutume I am also encouraged to seek out, on future visits, the other new wave Parisian cafés – some of whom are supplied with coffee beans by the owners of Coutume.
26 responses to “Coutume Café: Coffee and Cake in Paris”
I am a bit shocked that it’s so difficult to find a good cup of coffee in Paris, I would have thought it would be everywhere, the French love their coffee. So glad you found your cup of the good stuff, the cafe sounds deliciously chic and a great place to visit. They even had Victoria Sponge, that would be lovely with the coffee. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
Yes, it is kind of shocking that good coffee is hard to find in Paris, I am not sure if that’s because there is more importance attached to food and wine. I love Victoria sponge, it’s one of my favourite types of cake.
Thank you so much for you Christmas wishes and a very Merry Christmas to you too.
Lovely post! I just tried Victoria sponge for the first time on my fall trip to London– yum! I haven’t really seen that in the US.
I didn’t know you couldn’t find Victoria sponge in the US. When it’s well made it’s my absolute favourite cake.
Oh, I envy you, being so close to Paris. It’s very difficult for me to rank “favorites” (my favorite tends to be where I am at the moment…) but Paris certainly is way up near the top of the list.
Fabulous photos, by the way!!
It’s great to being so close to Paris, the flight time from Dublin is approximately an hour and a half but even so I don’t get there often enough.
Thank for the compliment on the photos.
This is a delightful find and the cake looks delicious! It’s important to do research when you’re in Paris… 🙂
The cake was scrumptious and yes Meg I agree doing research before visiting Paris is very important. 😉
The Victoria Sponge looks sooooo good. Glad you found a great cup of coffee. Apparently we make good cups of coffee in NZ, so come on over sometime 🙂 And I notice an amaryllis in your photo. At least, I think that’s what the flower is.
I have heard that NZ is a great place to get a good cup of coffee. I have never visited but I very much hope to get there someday to sample your flat whites. And of course see your beautiful country! 😉
I find it really funny that NZ has a good coffee reputation now because when I was younger, the coffee was abysmal. And the tea. .. and most of the wine…. I guess we all grow up, even countries 🙂
I will have to get to NZ sometime. 😉
What a treat, it’s so fun to have a new adventure in a familiar place. My mom loves getting a little cup of coffee when she is visiting, usually as an after dinner treat. I’ve slowly been developing a taste for coffee and can imagine time well spent sipping a cup and watching people bustling by in Paris.
I love coffee but sometimes I do regret developing a taste for it as caffeine isn’t the healthiest thing on the planet, however I do try to limit my consumption.
Sipping coffee (or a glass of wine!) in Paris while watching the world go by is one of my very favourite things to do.
Very fashionable and industrial looking. The book sounds like a good one for planning a trip to Paris.
Hi Karen, the book is excellent, it’s only recently published. I’ve been to some of the places it lists on previous visits to Paris and I am looking forward to exploring some of her other recommendations.
I wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas
torturing me here, are you? 😀
by the way (and because I’m not sure if I have your email?) I would love to ask you for a motivational statement. if you remember, I did a motivation monday series in summer (interviews), and will write a post “last motivation monday in 2013” going up on 30 december. I ask all my hall of fame residents and obviously everyone I’ve interviewed for a statement, in their own words. I will hand-letter those with a credit you’d like. right now I’ve got 9 beautiful statements with advice and inspiration. you in? 😉
you could submit it via my contact form if you like the idea. I certainly would love to hear your motivational thoughts!
Sorry about the torture! 😉
Thank you for asking me to supply a motivational statement. I will put on my thinking cap and hopefully I will come up with something appropriate which I will let you have in the next few days. Have a lovely Christmas.
Leaving aside the *fact* that your quest for great coffee will inevitably end in Italy, where you will find the Holy Grail filled with delicious espresso (so to speak, of course…) 😉 I’ll have that cake or that brioche and I will not make a fuss which one they give me! 🙂
Oh, and beautiful images BTW!
Happy Holidays, dear B: I hope you will enjoy the celebrations with a great bottle that you saved for the occasion!
All the very best,
Thank you so much for the compliment on the images which is very much appreciated coming as it does from a master-photographer.
Yes, definitely, definitely I need to go to Italy in search of an excellent cup of coffee. Funny you should say that I have been mulling over in my mind where I might go on holiday next year and Florence is on the list. Not just to see all the beautiful buildings but also to visit the outlets!!
Happy holidays to you and Francesca and likewise I hope you have a special bottle to celebrate with.
With many good wishes from B 😉 😉
If I ever get back to Paris, I will be sure to find Coutume Cafe. Thanks.
Truly Coutume Cafe is worth seeking out if you love good coffee. I hope you do get back to Paris.
I couldn’t agree more!!! I have never had a good cup of coffee in Paris! Sadly, this is becoming the case even in my country. You have more chances to find an excellent cappuccino in New York City than in Rome! 🙂
Oh,Francesa that’s a shame about Italy. It seems from what I read (because I haven’t been to them to try for myself) that Australian cities are place where like New York it is easy to get an excellent cappuccino. 😉
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