Here I am, sitting in a cafe in Paris eating choux pastry filled with creme patissiere, supping a coffee and I dare to call this work. It wasn’t easy to get here though. I’ve never really worked from a new city before, sure I’ve done home work but at home I know where the bathroom is and I don’t have to fight for a plug socket.
It all started when my wife was asked to work in Paris for a couple of days at short notice. She asked if I’d like to come along and as I work for company with a great remote work friendly culture I said I would. Here’s a few tips that I learned during those couple of days.
I spent quite a bit of time checking out various co-working options online. I found this list by Julie Henches very handy. There’s a few things you’ll need to bear in mind when choosing your co-working spot.
Cost - Some places charge by the hour and have a special discount for the whole day. Others are simply free and request that you buy coffee and snacks in their cafe.
Opening hours - Not all cafes keep the same hours as your office. Be sure to choose a place that will be open when you have those important meetings.
Proximity - You might have found the perfect co-working space but if it’s 45 minutes from your accommodation then your day just got a whole lot more expensive (not to mention the boring commute)
Co-working spaces (especially the free ones) can get busy. Make sure you get there early, preferably when they open to snag the best spot. This leads onto the next point…
I made this mistake at the first place I worked. I chose a great spot next to the window only to realise an hour or two later that there weren’t any sockets. As my laptop battery was about to die there was a mad rush to relocate to another table (where two other people had already set up camp).
It may sound great to be smashing back coffee and completely crushing it with your productivity, however I find it’s better to keep an even keel with regular cups of tea (herbal preferably) and dried fruit/nuts for snacks rather than chocolate bars. I can keep going for much longer that way and I don’t have that crushing feeling when the last coffee wore off. It’s not that I don’t love coffee, I prefer to have just one a day at around 3pm to give me the extra boost to see the rest of the day off. It can be temping especially when you are in a coffe shop but trust me, it’s really not worth it.
Finding a place where you feel comfortable to leave your laptop can be hard. Make the time unattended short by locating the bathroom beforehand.
Most cafes won’t allow you to bring your own lunch (which could save you a serious amount of money). My hack for this is to take a break at lunch, find a nearby park and eat your homemade lunch then switch to another place in the afternoon. You can also go back to the place you started the day but remember to take everything with you, you can’t rely on the good will of everyone in a cafe.
39 Rue du Caire, 75002 Paris, France
Opening times (week days): 9am - 8pm
This startup hub is very buzzy, the offices above are an accelerator for young companies and the people in the cafe all seem to be working on the next big thing. Coffee is only €1 and some people I sat near didn’t buy a single drink. This is definitely a great budget option. There aren’t many sockets though so be sure to sit on one of the banks with a multi-plug underneath.
14 Rue d’Hauteville, 75010 Paris, France
Cost: Free when you buy drinks
Opening times (week days): 9am - 9pm
This super friendly cafe isn’t specifically for remote working but there were a few others there when I was working. The staff really didn’t mind as the cafe wasn’t busy and I bought plenty of their lovely choux pastries. Most seating places have a socket nearby. The best seat is in the far corner by the window.
14 Rue des Carmes, 75005 Paris, France
Cost: €5 per hour (€25 for the whole day) with unlimited free coffee and snacks
Opening times (week days): 8:30am - 7pm
This is co working at its best (if you can afford it). Such a homely place, fans of Hao Miyazaki will love the early artwork on the walls. There’s even a snug corner upstairs that you have to crawl to get to. Coffee was excellent (and included in the price). The snacks weren’t as great as I hoped but there was enough to keep me going. They are also fine with people bringing their own food, you are paying to be there after all. Almost all the seats have sockets next to them.