Hold forth with the French about coffee and you'll quickly understand its purpose. It's not meant to be consumed leisurely but rather serves to clean the palate after a hearty meal. They think of it as a digestif which they tend to down in one slurp. It's wincingly acrid and unpleasant, only worth ordering for the accompanying speculoos cookie or chocolate covered almond. For someone as fanatic about quality coffee as me, the java scene was dismal when I arrived 6 years ago.
Things improved drastically a few years ago with a couple of roasters diving in to shake things up but it's Télescope, which opened in the spring by Nicolas Clerc and American barista David Flynn a few blocks from the Palais Royal gardens, that peddles what I think are the most expertly prepared artisanal coffee drinks in town.
Their claim to fame: filtered coffee. It may look innocuous, even weak, but the strong, rich notes in each cup put the average French brew to shame.
It quickly became my weekly hangout. Though the space is small, its affable owners give it heart. They know my drink - a noisette with an occasional iced coffee (filtered!) - and my vacation plans. It's the neighborhood place I always dreamed of frequenting and whether or not it's actually around the corner from you, it merits your time.