My strongest connection with Paris is through its tantamount respect for a “café culture.” Whether you are grabbing a verre, or sitting for lunch or dinner, the café serves as a local hub for the neighborhood where people meet to exchange local news, talk about recent events, or simply to enjoy each other’s company.
In the 10th and 11th arrondissements, a new wave of specialty coffee shops aims to bring café culture with a new take on food and coffee. Over the past several months, I’ve had the privilege of frequenting Café Oberkampf, a local cantine in the 11th that specializes in breakfast fare and quality coffee.
This café sees its share of the diversity of the surrounding neighborhood: Young French hipsters, American food & travel expat writers, retired French pensioners, fellow coffee shop owners, British exchange students, and foreign academics. Regulars here greet one another and the staff by name and exchange their perspectives on everything from their work to new exhibitions, all while enjoying the quality of the food and the humor/eccentric music tastes of the owner.
Community is made through many ways, but the connection made over a love of food and people, is strong in Paris and even stronger at Café Oberkampf.