A few blocks away from the two oh-so-atmospheric stalwarts of Parisian café life sits a slightly less frequented establishment: Le Rouquet.
People-watching here is as good as at the other two and you'll feel better knowing that you're not falling into one of the two biggest tourist traps in Paris.
Food is just okay, but that's beside the point (well, unless you're hungry). You can simply order a coffee (around €4 at the table; €2.50 at the bar; check Hillary's advice on how to order coffee) and consider it your license to stay indefinitely. Watch the shoppers, read the paper, write a novel – whatever you wish. It might take you more than a few €4 drinks to finish the novel, but basically, that's the formula.
Founded in 1922, the café has barely changed since its inception. Frommers
informs us that the latest renovation happened in 1954. Tant mieux, as
far as we're concerned.
188 Boulevard Saint-Germain