Café Coutume

WHERE: 47 rue de Babylone 75007, (7ème arrondissement)
WHEN: Mon-Fri 8am-7pm; Sat-Sun 10am-7pm
METRO: St. François-Xavier (line 13); Sèvres-Babylone (lines 10, 12)
HOW MUCH: 3.50€ for a café crème
BEANS: Café Coutume
FOOD: Wide range
CONTACT: Facebook; Web

Opened in 2011 by a Frenchman, Antoine and an Australian, Tom, Café Coutume has come to embody the development of the third-wave coffee revolution in Paris. More than just a major player on the specialty coffee scene,  Coutume works to promote what can only be described as sophisticated coffee 'science' both in France and internationally. Besides their three other locations in Paris–Coutume Lab, Institut Finlandais and the recently opened Coutume Workshop–you will also find their neat little logo in Rennes, and somewhat astoundingly, in lands as distant as Tokyo

As far as outings go, Coutume doesn't leave you wanting for much more. Their flagship café, located right in the heart of Paris' Little USA–the 7th arrondissement–is always bustling with a diverse clientele of locals, expats and tourists–and rightfully so.

The menu reveals a vast selection of dishes for breakfast and lunch, with various snacking options for those who are in a rush. Sweet and savoury choices that combine French flavours with a sort of Anglo-Saxon flair give you delicious and ample variety for a reasonable price.  An original brunch menu is available on Sundays, and changes regularly. Not the cheapest way to go, but well worth your while, and hey, you are in Paris, where brunch is not only an institution: it's an obligation.

Inside the comfortably spacious interior, you will notice various hints that Coutume considers itself something of a coffee laboratory. Tap water is served in chemist’s flasks, the bean variety abbreviations resemble element symbols ("Gu" for Guatemala) and hanging on the wall is an intriguing poster of the parts of the tongue responsible for the various tastes. The quality of the coffee certainly gives the impression that it is prepared with scientific precision.  

Located in the 7ème, Coutume is not far from Les Invalides, le Musée Rodin (1€ entry to the garden), and other such sightly sights. If you want to stick in the area, you can walk down past Les Invalides and go straight along to Ecole Militaire, which is opposite the Eiffel Tower. On the way back, take rue St. Dominique for a bit of window licking. Otherwise, take your coffee away and walk east along rue de Babylone until you get to a tranquil little park on your right. Afterward, you can continue towards St. Germain, the land of fur coats and Ralph Laurent socks.

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