I’m not the first writer to have moved to Paris with a gleam in her eye and a dream in her heart; nor am I the first writer to have scoured the streets in search of free WiFi (pronounced wee-fee in French) a.k.a. wireless Internet. Hemingway may have gotten the job done with pencil and paper in an ice-cold garret, but we modern-day Hemingways prefer slightly cozier digs in which to indulge our literary fantasies and writer-ly rituals.
And so, I give you the list of HIP-tested, HIP-approved, writer-friendly Parisian cafés complete with free wireless Internet (WiFi). For the cost of a mere espresso, you can spend hour after hour writing (or planning to write… or thinking about planning to write…. or, let’s face it, just procrastinating… but at least you’re procrastinating in Paris). This list is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s enough to get you started. Now get out there and go for it. Your novel’s not going to write itself!
Terrasse des Archives—This café’s cozy closed-off terrace makes a lovely place to write “outdoors” even in winter. Blankets are available, and the Bordeaux en pichet (8.50 €) is pas mal du tout (not bad at all). 51, rue des Archives, 3ème. Tél: 01 42 72 17 57.
Café de l’Institut—Big, sunny, and right near the Seine, this is the perfect spot to spread out and work through the morning at a sunlit table. 1, rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, 5ème. Tél: 01 40 51 58 14.
Le Contrescarpe—Settle in amidst the bookshelves in this library-esque café on the charming Place de la Contrescarpe. I once mistakenly asked a waiter here if he had a “puce” (a flea) instead of a “prise” (an electrical outlet); he was quite nice about it. 57, rue Lacepède, 5ème. Tél: 01 43 36 82 88.
Café Delmas—Another nice spot on the Place de la Contrescarpe, and the backroom is the perfect place to curl up on a winter afternoon. The food/drinks are overpriced, but just think of it as your “rent” for the coziest office ever. 2, Place de la Contrescarpe, 5ème. Tél: 01 43 26 51 26.
St. Germain / Montparnasse
Le Buci—For a healthy mix of working and people-watching, hit up Le Buci in the heart of bustling St. Germain, Paris’ historic intellectual epicenter. If you can’t get inspired to write, well, at least you’ll be inspired to sit around looking chic. 1 rue Dauphine, 6ème. Tél: 01 46 33 84 61.
Le Conti—A similar vibe to Le Buci. Geneviève (another HIP blogger) and I had our first “creative collaboration” here over kir and olives. 1 rue Buci, 6ème. Tél: 01 43 26 68 13.
Chez Félicie—Way down in the 14th, this is the coziest spot to order up a coffee (and tartine) and write away the morning. It fills up around lunchtime, so you may want to seek out a quieter spot for the afternoon. 174 Avenue du Maine, 14ème. Tél: 01 45 41 05 75.
Belleville / Canal St. Martin
Le Carillon—The service is “friendly” (more like flirty) and the unpretentious atmosphere feels downright bohemian. The resident cat may just curl up beside you while you’re working. 18 Rue Alibert, 10ème. Tél: 01 42 39 81 88.
Point Éphémère—Hipsters, unite! Cool kids congregate here to bask in each others’ creative light. It’s low-key, palpably hip, and has both indoor and outdoor space. 200 Quai de Valmy, 10ème. Tél: 01 40 34 02 48.
Rosa Bonheur—Hipsters, unite once again! But this time in Belleville’s Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, where you can take in the view and enjoy organic dishes while you work. (Only open Wed-Sun during winter months; call ahead to check hours of operation.) 2 Avenue de la Cascade (inside Buttes-Chaumont), 19ème. Tél: 01 42 00 00 45.
Le Sancerre—The perfect Montmartre neighborhood café, located right on the bustling Rue des Abbesses. Work the afternoon away and then head to Le Coquelicot for a just-baked baguette in the evening. 35, rue des Abbesses, 18ème. Tél : 01 42 58 08 20.
For a few others we have yet to try, check out Gridskipper’s list. What do you think, readers? Any other spots we should know about?
Written by Tory Hoen for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris. Top photo by Nichole Robertson, Little Brown Pen. Homepage photo by Erica Berman, Haven in Paris.