Cafés have always been bastions of egalitarianism in Parisian culture—spaces accessible to all for a small fee. But because many of those most frequented by Parisian’s literary and visual artists of the past, such as La Closerie des Lilas and La Palette, are now far more expensive, we looked to the artist's handwritten surveys in The Tall Trees of Paris: 42 Independent Artists Share Their City and Their Work by Matt Wagner to point us in the direction of modern cafés that are affordable on an artist’s budget.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Paris this summer, whether you require a terrace to people watch, strong coffee, or dinner when you don’t feel like cooking—this list has you covered.
1. Café de L’Industrie — Open until two in the morning, this bistro offers coffee for under two euros and French comfort food which ranges from 11 to 15 euros. The “grandma food” is precisely why Eric Lacan aka Monsieur Qui of The Tall Trees of Paris likes it. Dim lighting, wall-to-wall art, and plenty of seating give this neighborhood café a cozy, familiar ambiance.
2. Télescope — Although the coffee isn’t the cheapest in town (three to four euros for an espresso), it’s still relatively inexpensive and worth the price— Tall Tree Alëxone Dizac, along with many other Parisians, credits the quality coffee as one of his reasons for frequenting this spot. Due to its small size, this café is a drink-your-coffee-and-go place. Luckily, it’s right across from the Tuileries Garden—it’d be impossible to find a more pleasant place to stroll.
3. L’Abribus Café — A Moroccan-French café with a laid-back vibe that’s famed for its couscous. Coffee will cost you under two euros, and meals go from 10 to 15 euros. Aurore Petit of The Tall Trees of Paris favors this café because of its “sunny terrace in the morning,” making it an ideal spot to sit with a book.
For more insider tips on artist-frequented coffee shops, restaurants, and bars in Paris, along with almost 300 pages of mind-blowing art, check out The Tall Trees of Paris: 42 Independent Artists Share Their City and Their Work.