This Dreamy Café is a Mainstay of Montmartre

Nestled atop a gentle hill in the heart of Paris lies the enchanting neighborhood of Montmartre. Seemingly straight out of a fantasy, picture-perfect cobblestone streets wind their way through a labyrinth of charming cafes, artist studios, and quaint boutiques. Each corner whispers tales of creativity and romance.

As the sun’s rays illuminate the emblem landmark of the 18th arrondissement––Sacré-Cœur Basilica––the neon lights of a storied café buzz to life.

For decades, celebrity and local patrons have frequented the lively all-day café, Au Rêve.

A cultured crowd has always possessed an affinity for the establishment, including French playwright Marcel Aymé, novelist Patrick Modiano, and Belgian singer and actor Jacques Brel. Neighborhood workers have also found their place here, gathering on the terrace, at the bar, or in the cozy back room. 

Elyette Ségard ran Au Rêve for over 50 years. When she retired in 2008, Ségard handed the keys to Mathieu Renucci, until ownership changed hands several more times before shuttering for three years. In the fall of 2023, the institution reopened its doors, following a refurbishment courtesy of Clémentine Larroumet and Antoine Ricardou, co-owners of the esteemed design studio Saint-Lazare.

Preserving the institution’s cultural and architectural framework was at the forefront of their collective vision while ensuring the restaurant maintains its sense of place in the future. Thus, this project focused more on “revealing more than renovating.”

The carved wooden bar remains intact as the central feature of the bistro. The antique banquettes have been restored to their original splendor. As for the floors––they have not been touched. Brown paint from the 2000s was simply scraped away, revealing a previously concealed tile fresco. Outside, tasteful woven chairs circle brass-rimmed tabletops below the glow of the cardinal neon sign.

At long last, Renucci has been re-appointed manager, and he cultivates an energetic dining room in which to eat and drink finely all day and late into the evening. Grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, an aperitif, or one of his modern cocktails. On the menu, the great classics of bistro cuisine––mimosa eggs, croque-monsieurs, and other charcuterie––find their place alongside a smattering of homemade daily specials such as steak tartare and escargot.

Au Rêve signature dining

Whether in search of a convivial evening setting or an ideal spot for a solo lunch, a Parisian dream is reborn at Au Rêve.

Top Takeaways

Location: Montmartre, Paris (18th arrondissement)

Address: 89 Rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris, France

Cuisine: French, Café

Price Point: $$

Takes Reservations: Yes––call +33 1 44 85 05 75

The vibe: This buzzy, Instagrammable Parisian café is emblematic of bygone eras while maintaining a timeless-as-ever feel.

Our favorite thing on the menu: The great classics of bistro cuisine find their way onto the menu curated by General Manager Mathieu Renucci. We recommend the soupe du jour along with the Steak Tartare if available. 

The attire: Smart Casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Au Rêve is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Mondays – Fridays from 8:00 am – 2:00 am, Saturdays from 9:00 am – 2:00 am, and Sundays from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. 

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