Good coffee in Paris. 6: Blackburn Coffee

Unlike other new-ish cafés, Blackburn Coffee is not located in one of the hip parts of the city. Although not too far from the Canal St Martin,  it sits on the rue du Faubourg St Martin in the 10th arrondissement, probably soon to be newly fashionable, but currently in a bit of a no man’s land. This is perhaps what gives it the special, cosy atmosphere that I so enjoyed.

Blackburn Coffee seems to be a café where local people come to meet friends, it’s not only  occupied by quiet types working on their Macbooks, but is also filled with laughter, along with great coffee and delicious home cooked food and cakes. It’s well worth a detour, you’ll get a warm welcome and you may even get to discover a new part of the city…

  • Blackburn Coffee, 52 rue du Faubourg St Martin, 75010  metro: Chateau d’Eau

open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 – 21:00

website (in English)

Good coffee in Paris. 4: Fondation Café

This tiny café serves up not only a fantastic cup of coffee, but also a delicious selection of cakes and a tasty avocado on toast, complete with chili powder and salt. The decor is minimalist (check out the 2 beautiful Jean Prouvé Potence lights), the coffee machine being the main attraction, and with 3 small tables inside and just a few more outside, you can also get your coffee to go if you can’t find a seat. Opened in 2013 by an Australian barista who had previously worked at Ten Belles, the café has recently changed hands, but continues to attract a non-stop stream of customers and rave reviews for the quality of the cofféé and the warm welcome.

  • Fondation Café, 16 rue Dupetit Thouars, 75003 Paris.  metro: Temple

Open 8:00 – 18:00 weekdays and 9:00 – 18:00 weekends

Fondation café Facebook page

Good coffee in Paris. 1: Ten Belles

Gone are the days when it’s impossible to get a decent coffee in Paris. Café culture is something that is so French, it was always hard to understand why the coffee was so terrible, and why the locals – who care so much about their food and wine – never seemed to mind.  Now a burgeoning coffee scene is ensuring that sitting on a café terrace in Paris can be even more of a pleasure than before. Ten Belles is one of the best amongst the new style cafés that have popped up around the city in the past couple of years. The coffee beans are roasted in Paris at the Belleville Brulerie, and you can get cakes, soups and sandwiches too.

The coffee changes with the seasons, and the food and drinks can be taken out, an especially good thing as the café is almost always packed, and the beautiful and now uber fashionable Canal Saint Martin is right nearby. If you want more picnic food, drop into the lovely grocery shop Myrthe right next door.

  • Ten Belles, 10 rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris. metro: Jacques Bonsergent

Open daily 9:00 – 5:00pm.

Ten Belles Facebook page

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Fred le Chevalier around the Canal St Martin

Recently whilst wandering around the Canal Saint Martin I was delighted to see some new works by my favourite street artist, Fred le Chevalier, and decided it was time for another post. Previously to be found around Menilmontant, his beautiful and poetic drawings can now be seen more often in the Canal Saint Martin area in the 10th arrondissement, also sometimes in the Marais and parts of the 11th arrondissement.

I always find it such a delight to come across one of these drawings, they are pasted on the walls and disappear gradually depending on the weather, offering fleeting moments of gladness when you see one. They seem especially poignant now in the area that was hit so tragically by the attacks in November. ‘Invent monsters to scare away our fears’ is often something he writes under his drawings. Musicians play to a monster with death pinned onto his lapel, a child snuggles up to a great beast.

Fred Le Chevalier-Paris 2Other drawings show benevolent angels looking down on us, or scenes of comfort and peace. Each time I come across one of his works I am reminded that not only that it is possible to confront our fears, but also that art, beauty and joy still surround us every day.

If you are interested in his work you can see more on his Facebook page.

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A walk around the Canal St Martin

The area around the Canal St Martin in the 10th arrondissement is a fantastic place to wander around on a sunny day. The canal, with it’s 4.5km of water shaded by 100 year old trees and overlooked by locks and iron bridges, was inaugurated in 1825 and used for maritime transport, but is now quiet and peaceful. Over the past few years it has become one of the more fashionable areas of the city – try a cold pressed juice at Bob’s Juice Bar, enjoy delicious British fish and chips at The Sunken Chip, feast on good food and great coffee at Holybelly and Ten Belles, or browse for gorgeous art and design books at Artazart. If you’re there in the early evening, enjoy an aperitif and some people watching on the terrace at Chez Prune. Or if you fancy a taste of the country life in the heart of the city, pick up some amazing bread and pastries at Du Pain et des Idees or bring a picnic and relax by the side of the canal.