By Olivia Thiessen
Finding good coffee in Paris is getting easier as artisan cafés crop up all over the city. However I still get that slight jab of fear when a friend suggests we meet for coffee, in case the place they have in mind is not on my carefully curated mental list of acceptable coffee venues.
To my relief, Ten Belles is one of the new wave of coffee specialists taking root in Paris and I had no need to worry. Ten Belles has firmly planted itself just off the canal St Martin since 2012 and has been packing in coffee connoisseurs ever since.
As there are often queues out the door and into the street, best opt for a weekday afternoon if you want some peace and quiet or a lengthy catch up. Furthermore they offer take-away, which with its proximity to the canal St Martin, makes for perfect picnic food.
The coffee is indeed delicious, the espresso had a more complex flavour than your standard €1 Paris espresso hit (which is generally totally vile). The cappuccino (€4) had a more delicate flavour but not to the point of the tastelessness that I seem to encounter at every ill-thought out café venture.
The food offered an interesting flavour palette too. Sandwiches, soups and salads are available (€6.50 to €8.00), options changing daily, as well as savoury breakfast buns (€4.50, for example Roquefort, chilli jam and spinach) and plenty of home made cakes (around €4).
I chose a toasted feta, hummus, chilli jam and chive sandwich (€7.00) with my cappuccino, followed by a chocolate and peanut butter brownie (€4.00).
The sandwich was perhaps a little overdone, but this did not detract from the simple light flavours(the salty feta went extremely well with the sweet chilli jam). The brownie was the perfect follow up, although due to the large portion sizes, it was a little tricky to finish. I would have liked it to be a bit moister, but a classic flavour combination won out here making it a delightful coffee companion.
My only main reservation are the seats which could be a lot more comfortable. This is a shame, because when it is not busy, it is a good place to hang out and read or work and I can’t help but feelthese hard chairs are in place to ensure that you don’t linger too long over a coffee.
Address: 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris
Metro: M5 Jacques Bonsergent
Hours: Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 17:00, Saturday and Sunday, 09:00 to 18:00
Phone: 01 42 40 90 78