The show Friends made home away from home cafes the standard for a generation. Whether for a group gathering, or to grab a drink with a friend or alone, these spaces provide additional comfort outside of our homes. I like to find these “go to’s” wherever I go, even if I’m only in one place for a few days. So immediately upon booking my last trip to the City of Lights, I called my friend Nikki who had lived in Paris the summer before. I wanted to know the best places to eat and drink but most importantly, where my cafe away from home would be.
Without hesitation she recommended Cafe La Fusée, which located directly under her apartment on Rue Saint Martin, was one of those kind of places she frequented most days. Having passed through Paris the year before while she was there, I remembered the cafe and its instant appeal. On the night I had met her there for a drink, Cafe La Fusée was overflowing with locals our age drinking, eating and mingling the night away.
A year later I was greeted by the same scene at La Fusée. The cafe’s quirky decor only added to the intoxicating and warm atmosphere of the constantly buzzing yet laid back local hangout. And, once again as was the case when I met Nikki, Erin (this years La Fusée companion) and I were the only foreigners to be seen. The casual tabac was crowded as ever, with revelers squeezing themselves around the small tables to order round upon round of food and drink.
Beyond mere atmosphere, the food and wine at Cafe La Fusée are actually really good and actually very affordable. Small plates include a small selection of Parisian standards and daily specials including the likes of freshly minced beef tartar or garlicky escargot and a satisfying meal can be had for under 20 Euro. However, while the food is more than good, locals really come to La Fusée to enjoy the holy trinity of French cuisine: wine, meat and cheese.
Taking a cue from everyone else, Erin and I ordered the same and settled in for what would be a memorable night of drinking and laughing with our new Parisian crew. The following evening we returned to La Fusée and did exactly the same. A month later I came back to La Fusée with an entirely different group of friends and we too hunkered down and drank, ate and laughed the night away.
Cafe La Fusée is one of those places that makes you feel like you’re in the heart of Paris cool while at the same time remaining completely accessible to all. It’s no wonder the intimate cafe is a local favorite. But the locals and those with whom they’ve shared their secret will soon not be alone at already popular La Fusée; the wine bar was recently featured in the latest version of a very popular Paris pocket guide. Regardless of what changes may come, Cafe La Fusée will always be to many their very own Parisian version of “Central Perk.”
Cafe La Fusée, 168 Rue Saint Martin, 75003 Paris, France, +33 1 42 76 93 99, 10AM- 2AM daily
*feature image courtesy of Jeannine à Paris