Café de Flore
A whirl of art deco fittings, bow-tie service, outstanding omelettes and really good pains au chocolat, this is the breakfast you want to remember having on the Boulevard Saint-Germain. It was here that Sartre wrote his famous line: “Man is condemned to be free.” You’ll still glimpse the odd notebook – though the café is now a magnet for everyone from literary tourists to fashion industry power brokers.
172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, +33 1 45 48 55 26, www.cafedeflore.fr
“Brunch” for me should not mean anything more complicated than “late breakfast”. But in Paris the rules are less than clear. Sometimes you will be given only lunch foods – served over multiple courses. At artfully battered Café Crème, these courses are impeccable. It’s all of the breakfasts and none of the decisions. You get pastries, then a Parisian fry-up (includes a green salad) followed by a pancake finale.
4 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003 Paris, +33 1 42 72 04 06
Set up by a German expat, Claus bills itself as an épicerie du petit-déjeuner, a “breakfast grocery”. The shop, which sells artisan mueslis and homemade jams, is serene to the point of feeling a bit like the chapel in a sci-fi novel about a breakfast-worshipping civilisation. In the dining room, the scrambled eggs are celestially creamy and the coffee is, for Paris, unusually decent.
14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris, +33 1 42 33 55 10, www.clausparis.com
Eggs & Co
One of the greatest French gifts to egg-based cooking is oeufs en cocotte: eggs baked in ramekins, with cream and tasty morsels. Eggs & Co does them brilliantly, and it also does good things with scrambled, fried, boiled, omelettes, eggs Florentine and so on. It’s packed at the weekends, so reserve or go on a weekday.
11 Rue Bernard Palissy, 75006 Paris, +33 1 45 44 02 52, www.eggsandco.fr
La Pâtisserie by Cyril Lignac
Some of Paris’s most superior breakfasts are assembled at a corner patisserie. Cyril Lignac is a Michelin-starred chef and the stellar viennoiserie here is courtesy of pastry chef Benoit Couvrand. You’d be a fool not to order his version of the Breton pastry, kouign amann; there is also a range of éclairs to test your willpower. Lignac’s restaurant, Le Chardenoux, is a few steps away.
24 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, +33 1 43 72 74 88, www.lapatisseriebycyrillignac.com
Seb Emina is co-author of ‘The Breakfast Bible’ (Bloomsbury)