Paris has long been associated with café life and offers an endless choice of charming places to work. If you are facing a daunting writing project, a dissertation, essays, a book or other work related projects, why not get to work in the Parisian café’s instead of sitting in an office or your chambre de bonne? For the price of a coffee, you can type away in the atmosphere of your choice, at a real table with a comfortable couch, a heated or ventilated room, and plenty of intriguing strangers every day. All that, and it makes your whole project more romantic in the process. Who can refuse?
Internet: For those who are not equipped with 3G or such on their laptops, and need a constant connection, Neuf Telecom (www.neuf.fr) offers a city wide wifi coverage. Alternatively, free wifi is widespread but unfortunately not universal yet. There are still too many people walking around scribbling in their Moleskins. Admittedly, it looks great to jotting something down in that little black book. And it’s an instant secret. A mystery. And on top of that, you get to chew on the the end of your bic! Sony, Apple and Dell take note… we are still waiting for a suitable solution to that one!
Le Cercle1, rue Guy-Lussac; 75005 Paris Tel +33 1 46 34 63 98; www.lecerclevp.fr Sockets available. No Wifi. Coffee 2.6 €
Dark wood panels along the walls, arranged as a square in a square as the southern tiles on the floor, but with dried autumn leaves to remind you that the Luxembourg gardens are just across the road. Le Cercle is themed around the idea of a square circle, in their logo, the walls and the floor. There is no escaping the paradox, whether seated in the leather chairs at the little round tables lining the windows, or at the couched square dining-type tables. Besides being decorated as a grand café, the place is not big, but does have a spill out onto the street, with a comfortable (heated) terrace on the boulevard. None the less, it has a winter-hibernation-out-of-the-park-gluwein feel to it.
Around you is the usual Quartier Latin mix of debating or gossiping students, university staff, tourists and the likes. And a lot of walk-in traffic. It might not be the most peaceful place in the city to work, but it is a pleasant place to be, with plenty of people to look up at and mild music to sooth your ears. And if you overstay your plan, or get caught up in the conversation at the next table, lunch and dinner are fairly priced (10-15€) and excellent. Unless it is the heart of summer, and the tables and chairs under the trees in the Luxembourg gardens beg you across the road, Le Cercle is a great place to work.RER Luxembourg
Café de la Mairie8, place St Sulpice 75006 Paris Mo-Fr 0700-0200; Sat 0800-0200; Sun 0900-2100 No sockets. No Wifi. Coffee €2.20
From the outside this looks like a run-on-the mill bistro and in many ways it is. The interior is a mixture of 1970s plastic and worn-out wood, with scratched tables, dirty walls, cracked windows, noisy coffee machines and mirrors strategically placed for the illusion of size. Of course the place is always packed with big budget shoppers, paint covered workers, some Chinese tourists, students with their table covered with papers and a child pouring sugar into his mother’s diet coke. The service confirms any prejudice about Parisian waiters and the menu is as original as a ham and cheese baguette. So what makes this place worth considering? Well, besides their wonderfully sunny terrace, the upstairs room is completely quiet in the daytime, with a pleasant view of the St Sulpice church. Sometimes, in the evening, debates are organized here, so if you plan to work late you may want to check not only your agenda, but theirs as well.Métro Mabillon; Métro Odéon