As spring occupies our thoughts in New York City, my French colleagues and friends are hoping for some sunnier days and warmer temperatures. Even still, no one can deny the allure of Paris in the spring. To that end our Homebuildlife blog team identified a wonderful little café that should be on everyone's list for their next visit to the City of Lights.
Translated as Café Finch, as in the bird, the newly opened Café Pinson is Marais' latest hotspot. Interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon has reflected the organic philosophy of the company with relaxed but stylish surroundings.
Bare brick, Parisian white paneling and geometric pattern combine to create a healthy eating haven while bird boxes of all shapes and sizes add an unusual finishing touch to the walls.
Vegans from around the world will rejoice as the café eschews the traditional French charcuterie and serves vegan and even gluten-free options. The American chef, Cameil Kaundart, is making everything in-house including the vegan butter. Almond milk replaces traditional steamed milk in espressos and local Parisians are not noticing the difference. Fresh ingredients take center stage with local and seasonal produce highlighted every day. As we know, some vegetarian-only restaurants can be quite overwhelming serving exotic-sounding ingredients that carry a host of health inducing side effects. Café Pinson seems to have found the balance through the efforts of one of the owners, Agathe Audouze, a naturopathy.
The service is very friendly and efficient appealing to ex-pats and tourists alike. The food is fresh and the space so inviting that you may be tempted to sit for the afternoon, reading Victor Hugo, and imaging yourself a resident of one of the most enchanting cities in the world. Luckily for those who linger all day, the café serves breakfast and a three-course lunch together with brunch on the weekends. The staff is friendly and accommodating and the interior is inviting so have another madeleine and a fresh café au lait.
The neighborhood café sits in the popular Marais district in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement. Long known for beautiful and historic architecture, Le Marais is a charming medieval labyrinth and its hipper sister quarter, the Haut Marais, is best for individual, eclectic and vintage retail outlets. The independent boutiques and concept stores sit alongside more recognizable mid-to-high-end brands. Conveniently for the tourists, Le Marais is one area of the city that is open for business on Sundays - only in the afternoons, though! All product categories are represented but the area is particularly strong for womenswear. Hip, gay, artsy, touristy - the neighborhood is a colorful mosaic of styles and cultures.
Now that you have your new Parisian café picked out, the next question is always: "Where to stay?" Our WGSN-Homebuildlife City-by-City guide recommends staying at the beautifully appointed and contemporary 3 Rooms Alaia designed by the famous Tunisian-born French fashion designer, Azzedine Alaia. Window shopping and strolling through the beautiful park and arcade of the Place des Vosges will help work up your appetite for a tasty bite at the Café Pinson. As we all wait for the full force of summer to arrive, Café Pinson offers a delightful ambience to while away a misty and mystical Parisian afternoon.