Still dreaming of my perfect breakfast, once discovered at Coquelicot: a soft-boiled egg done to perfection with crusty baguette soldiers, a giant bowl of cafe au lait, fresh orange juice, soft brioche, syrupy apricot jam.
Take the metro to Abbesses, come out by the kitsch carousel and the wall of love. Just around the corner is a poppy-red bakery full of madeleines and baguettes tradition. Ask to sit upstairs, in the sunshine by the window. Take your time browsing the picture menu, because breakfast is served all day. (This is a hideous rarity in Paris, where waiters and museum assistants alike delight to inform you that no, you have just missed the cut-off; no you may not just look around for five minutes; no, no croissants for you…)
I had the “P’tit dej’ Equilibre” with a supplementary boiled egg. (On the weekends they also do lavish brunches, but this was enough to keep me happy for hours. There are all kinds of croque-monsieur, salady options etc as well.)
And the bread is really, really good. Just the right amount of resistance from the crust, just the right amount of holes in the crumb. It comes with a pat of fresh butter, a large jar of honey and jam that tastes like proper summer. The fat slice of brioche too – supposedly grandmother’s recipe – had clearly been made that morning, shiny brown on top, soft, golden, barely sweet inside.
It felt very satisfying to find that ideal, lavish French breakfast with real quality. None of the stale croissants and exorbitantly priced espressos that many Montmartre cafes slyly promise. The tourist Holy Grail – that satisfies even a grumpy local like me.
Coquelicot – 24 rue des Abbesses, Paris 18eme – 01 46 06 18 77