For Parisians (and visitors to the City of Light) who think the French capital is falling behind when it comes to caffeinated beverages, there is a new entrant that just might be a game changer, right in the center of the throbbing Marais district. Merce and the Muse (1 bis rue Dupuis; 33-9-53-14-53-04; www.merceandthemuse.com) has the feel of a Brooklyn cafe, complete with the latest high-tech Italian equipment, and a barista who boasts training with Denmark’s renowned Coffee Collective.
“I wanted to bring to Paris the kind of coffee shop I’d go to several times a day in New York,” said the cafe’s American-Iranian founder, Merce Muse. “Here, cafes have looked the same forever.”
With vintage furniture picked up at marchés aux puces (Parisian flea markets), ’50s fashion magazines available for perusal, and retro tracks played on LP’s, Merce and the Muse offers a coffee culture venue that is proving startling to the French.
What is on offer is a novelty to their palate as well: instead of the typical, rough Robusta brews served in most Paris cafes, Merce and the Muse offers lightly roasted Arabica coffee beans imported from a Denmark roastery. Each cup of coffee takes a good five minutes to produce — which gives visitors time to enjoy homemade specialties ranging from elaborate salads to cakes and biscuits.
“I’m half-Iranian, and over there you show your love through food — and the result in my recipes is a mélange of flavors,” she said. Don’t miss out on her American-with-a-Persian-touch fare: muffins and cupcakes with cardamom, figs and pistachios, for example.
And for those of you who live in town, Ms. Muse will soon be offering cooking classes.