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The Café des Chats in Paris

A cat on top of a piano in the Cafe des Chats, Paris

In the centre of Paris you can visit a café that’s also a cosy refuge for abandoned cats. Highly recommended for cat and coffee lovers!

Margaux Grandelon opened her first Cat Café in 2013 in the Marais district. I visited her second little establishment close to the Bastille monument at 9, Rue Sedaine and enjoyed a truly heart warming and cosy experience. After wiping your hands with disinfectant at the entry you’re introduced to perfectly domesticated cats occupying their apparently exclusive favourite places. All is calm and well-ordered and the brasserie is usually filled with coffee drinkers, and diners at lunch time.

Etiquette at the Cat Café in Paris

There are some established rules that have to be obeyed. Customers should not awake sleeping cats and should not pick them up. They are not to be disturbed unless they choose to be. The furry creatures were mostly resting and they provided a relaxing, stress reducing environment for busy Parisian office workers who came off the maddening streets to take a coffee break or enjoy lunch. You’re likely to need to make a reservation in advance for a meal, but coffee, beer and nibbles are always available. Clients are told to stay ‘Zen’.

The cats have all been rescued from animal shelters around Paris or from the streets. They get the best of care, comfort and guaranteed security in the café. All of the completely domesticated pets have their own food dish and their personal favourite little spot to observe, rest and sleep. The top of the piano and the high bookshelf right up by the ceiling were the most popular choices. Disturb them at your peril. First come, first served was their rule and they were not to be shifted.

Khaleesi, a Siamese hybrid, welcomes visitors. The cats are laid back and happy though Zan, the newest male resident was not particularly Zen when I visited. They might choose to come and sleep on your lap now and again. Many of the rescued cats have their photos and origins displayed on the walls of the café which is now their forever home. Customers share it with them but cannot ever take over. It’s said that cats have servants, but dogs have masters. In this café that’s certainly true!

These pampered felines are well fed and patrol the premises as they wish. All of the cats are immaculately house trained and perfectly mannered. Occasionally one or two of them might walk across a customer’s table but nobody seems to mind.

The food and coffee are of fine quality in an immaculately clean environment. Cat lovers will go gaga for this café!

Bob Lyons is an ex-pilot turned travel writer and a total Francophile.

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