Nestled into a corner at the end of Washington Street is a French coffee shop sure to make anyone feel like they’ve flown across the Atlantic once they step in. Paul is a traditional french cafe with roots dating back to late 1800s France. This worldwide chain has only 2 locations in the Boston area. Other U.S. locations are in the D.C. area and Florida.
Aside from its long list of specialty coffees, Paul’s offerings include sweet pastries, fresh baked loaves of bread, sandwiches, salads, and other lunch items, all with a French twist.
The cafe definitely has an upscale feel, with nice gold finishes, chandeliers, and comfortable couches. Also, unlike many cafes they bring your order to where ever you decide to sit, which I found to be a nice touch because I don’t like awkwardly hovering over baristas waiting for my name to be called.
I ordered a croissant and small cappuccino . I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of an espresso enthusiast and I was very impressed with my drink.
I went at about 3 p.m. and the clientele was a nice mix of people. There were a good number of people who seemed to be coming in from the office. I even noticed a few people who seemed to be using Paul as their office for the day. And of course, there were also people just enjoying a book and chatting with friends.
“I’m alone today, but my friend and I come here most Thursdays for what we call ‘Cafe Thursdays,'” said Michaela Ruth. “We like to try out all the different cafes in the area but we keep coming back to this one. My coffee is particularly good today. I think I got a new barista last time.”
Ruth ordered a vanilla latte and a large macaron, what she says is one of the best pastries.
Ruth also informed me of the cafe’s rewards program. If you log into Paul’s free Wi-Fi five times, you get a free signature drink. I find this to be a pretty generous offer, compared to the Starbucks rewards program where I need to spend about $60 before I get a free coffee.
The cafe also has a patio area outside, which is currently empty, but I’m sure it will be bustling in the summer. To me, there’s nothing more European than sipping some coffee while people watching on patio. Paul truly is a great French import.
Paul · 201 Washington Street Boston, MA 02108 · Closest T Stop: Government Center · Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday: 8 a.m. – 6p.m. · Price of a Small and Large Hot Coffee: $1.75/$2.25 · Handicap Accessible: Yes · Second Location at Assembly Row · (617) 725-2713 ·