In Review: Café Craft, a Canal St-Martin Haven in Paris

(Last Updated On: May 19, 2019)

 

Craft Café in Paris
Image: Courtesy of Craft Café

Nestled on Rue des Vinaigriers just off of the Canal St-Martin, Café Craft is one of my favorite new places in Paris for decent coffee, tea and baked goods.

Inside the brightly lit, modern café, creative and freelance types cluster around a large central table designed as a workspace, typing frantically on laptops. But while Craft is partly a working cafe (and you’ll have to pay by the hour if you elect to treat is as an office for a half or full day), it’s also a lovely spot for a quick coffee and slice of cake.

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For me, it offered an ideal break between long hours of wandering the surrounding neighborhood, and an opportunity to both charge my rapidly draining phone and rest tired feet.

The Setting

Inside Craft on Rue des Vinaigriers, Paris
Inside Craft: checkered floors, simple wooden tables, and calm. Image credit: Courtney Traub

The ambience here is what I’d call calm minimalism inflected with a dose of warmth. Checkered floors, simple wooden tables and chairs with legs painted black, modern lamps and walls plastered with contemporary art make the café feel decidedly modern and cool. Yet unlike so many of the city’s newer coffee bars, Craft is spacious and calm, eschewing crowded seating for ample, comfortable spaces where you can really perch for an hour or two.

Image credit: Courtney Traub

There’s also a small seating area outside, which would probably be very pleasant during the warmer months. This is also likely an ideal place for people-watching on the increasingly hip Rue des Vinaigriers, where members of the historic Garibaldi Association (a far-left political club) rub shoulders with vegans dining at the Sol Semilla superfoods cantine across the street.

Eating & Drinking

Tea and cookie from craft cafe
A peanut butter cookie accompanied by a strongly brewed rooibus (redbush) tea. Image credit: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

Whether you’re a coffee or tea person, you’ll “find your happiness” here, to borrow an expression from the French. Coffee is sourced from the much-lauded Parisian roasting company Cafe Lomi, and Craft is fitted with a Marzocco coffee machine– considered a gold standard by discerning types. Although I didn’t try “le café” on this particular visit, reviews are generally quite positive. The flat white, a rare finding in Paris, is notably reputed to be excellent.

On the tea side, there’s a large selection of black, green and redbush teas, mostly from luxury French tea manufacturer Dammam Frères. And if you’re in the mood for an ice-blended coffee or soft drink, there are plenty of choices.

Read related: The Best Places for Afternoon Tea in Paris

The coffee bar at Craft, Paris, France
Craft offers a variety of specialty coffees, teas, baked goods and light dishes.

If you’re hankering for a snack or quick lunch, don’t hesitate. The café’s selection of cakes, cookies, bars and light bites such as sandwiches, quiches and soups seem to all be of excellent quality.

It was here that I enjoyed one of the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever tasted, accompanied by a steaming cup of perfectly brewed, loose-leaf rooibus (redbush) tea. Imagine my surprise at the crumbly yet moist and rich cookie, equally salty and sweet.

Generally, my experience has been that French bakers really don’t “get” the cookie. Either they bake them exclusively with white sugar, leaving out the brown and thus yielding a too-hard crust, or they add excessive baking powder and a puffy, cake-like creation comes out of the oven.

This peanut butter cookie was a thing of beauty, by contrast.

My bottom line? If you’re exploring the Canal St-Martin and environs, don’t hesitate to take a break or stop in to catch up with work for a few hours.

Getting There & Practical Information

Café Craft

  • Address: 24 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 (10th arrondissement)
  • Tel: +33 (0)1 40 35 90 77
  • Metro: Gare de l’est or Jacques-Bonsergent
  • Visit the official website

 

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