If there’s one thing Aussies do well, it has to be brunch. And healthy brunch too, not just your regular eggs and bacon. One of the things I miss most about home is my favourite avocado, tomato and basil on soy and linseed bread. Sure, croissants are great, but give me corn fritters and tomato salsa any day.
Thankfully, Paris has finally caught onto the whole brunch revolution.
However, it’s not quite the same as the brunch we’re used to. For example, I’ve had many debates about how brunch has a very specific meal window (it’s not called ‘brunch’ for nothing – it’s meant for between breakfast and a (late) lunch). The French version of brunch is more likely after 4pm and can last right up until apero’clock. Many bistros now have a Sunday breakfast menu, but they’re not much to write home about. Don’t be disappointed though, there are a few cool cafes (mostly owned by Australians, of course) leading the Paris brunch bunch.
A favourite amongst bloggers, Ten Belles is a tiny little café famous for its great coffee (shout out to the Aussie baristas). I’d been searching for sausage rolls in Paris and Ten Belles has deliciously fat ones, available only on weekends, so get in quick. They’re also one of the very few cafes that actually serve your drinks in a takeaway cup so you can enjoy your coffee along Canal Saint Martin.
One for the health-addicts, this detox ‘cantine’ is an oasis of green hanging plants, cold-pressed juices and healthy snacks such as kale chips and gluten-free granola. I love the Black Lemonade (which promises to be a great hangover cure) with charcoal, cider vinegar, lemon juice and honey. I often come here to work on the giant communal table that sits under a canopy of ferns and succulents.
Season has all the ‘hype’ foods that Parisians have only just discovered (but Aussies have been feasting on for years) – pancakes with maple syrup and bacon, avocado on toast and banana bread. For lunch, there’s a kale and quinoa salad, banh mi rolls and tofu spring rolls.
If the line is too long at Season, you can always go around the corner to the new takeaway counter to get your matcha latte and acai bowl to go.
I only just discovered Institut de Bonté the other day – it’s an all-wood café without a name on the outside near République. Inside, it’s like stepping into a very chic barn, with straw baskets holding fruit, random farm props and large rustic wood tables. I came on a weekday and they had a buffet brunch option for €8 which included all-you-can-eat breads, homemade jams, granola and cereals with fromage blanc, a fresh juice and your choice of one of their 15 different loose-leaf teas.
The Bottle Shop is a personal favourite and somewhere I go at least once a month for a classic English breakfast. It’s not much to look at, just your typical rock dive bar, but the food is good, the drinks are cheap and the crowd vibe is cool. The breakfast special is exactly what you need after a few drinks here the night before and I’ve found myself brunching next to the ultimate Parisian ‘cool girl’ Lou Doillon more than a few times.
Kimberlee Oo is a freelance writer and French-English translator who moved to Paris in pursuit of the perfect croissant.
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