The Kanelbullar at Café Suédois.
The Kanelbullar at Café Suédois.

I live in the Marais. Not in the 3rd or Upper Marais but in the heart of the 4th right next to the old Jewish Quarter. If you don’t know Paris well, that’s an area associated with shopping and large crowds on weekends. While I love the hustle and bustle, sometimes you want to escape the throngs of people lining up for falafels on Rue des Rosiers and window shopping on Rue Vielle du Temple’s narrow sidewalks. Luckily, I’ve been able to find some off the beaten track places in the neighborhood where you can find some serenity.

The entry way to the Swedish Institute and Café Suédois.
The entry way to the Swedish Institute and Café Suédois.

One of my favorites is Café Suédois at the Swedish Institute. Located in a historic hôtel or mansion behind two large blue doors on Payenne street, it feels a bit removed, but in the know people still flock to the smattering of outdoor tables. The café lies just off the large courtyard and serves simple Swedish fare, like opened faced tuna fish sandwiches on rye bread, but what they’re most known for is the Kannelbullar, a traditional Swedish brioche cinnamon roll.

The air in the café is perfumed with the buttery, spicy aroma and it’s almost impossible to go without ordering one (although they do have other fine desserts). The girls who work at the café all sport cute striped shirts and seem to continuously fill a little basket on the counter top with the freshly baked rolls throughout the day.


The employées all where cute striped shirts.
Employees all wear striped boatneck tops and aprons.

My mom was visiting recently and we split one over a cup of tea. She’s made incredible cinnamon rolls for years, which I’ve gladly eaten, and so we both consider ourselves experts when it comes to this subject. We appreciated the moistness of the dough, but also loved the fact that the cinnamon roll wasn’t overly sweet. It had a healthy dose of cinnamon and cardamom, a gingery spice, but it wasn’t overpowering and gave the pastry a subtle layer of spice and earthiness. The rolls come slightly browned and are topped with pearl sugar rather than icing, a typical preparation in Sweden. It was a delicious afternoon treat and one that I’m sure will be calling my name, again and again. If only the café wasn’t so lovely and so close…..

Sandwiches at Café Suédois include fillings like cucumber, tomatoes and smoked salmon.
Sandwiches at Café Suédois include fillings like cucumbers, tomatoes, ham and blue cheese.

11 Rue Payenne

Paris, 75003

+33 1 44 78 80 20

They only except cash!


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