Sous-bois Café: what happens when a pretty papeterie grows a cafe on its side

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sous-bois Café breakfast

Sous-bois Café: what happens when a pretty papeterie grows a cafe on its side

Watch the video below if you don’t have the time to read!

Cute. Colourful. French. The Orient. Stationery & desk design – These words perfectly sum up this new addition to the café-crammed neighbourhood of the 7th district.

It’s got the typical high ceilings of a Viennese Altbau, plus the white walls and the big windows make sous-bois Café look bigger than it actually is. The colourful chairs, pillows and throws here brighten up the place, and so does a beautiful tapestry. These are all the touches of somebody who appreciates design and how to make things look simply beautiful.

It all began with a papeterie full of pretty things…

Chloé, who’s actually a graphic designer hailing from France, wanted to share her love of stationery and pretty paper with others, and so she opened her papeterie, sous-bois, about six years ago.

Sous-bois – meaning ‘undergrowth’ in French – is where you head if you can only bring yourself to write something of worth in a notebook that’s beautiful, or if you love neatly arranged pretty things inspiring your workplace.

Chloé loves the word – undergrowth. It’s all about what grows there and how it’s all connected to paper.

She could talk hours about all kinds of paper, and we’d listen to every single word. That’s how charming she is.

The cafe has kind of moved into the stationery shop, but the stationery is far from gone. Stylish and contemporary stationery from across the world is all over the place. From the practical (often with a twist) to the irresistibly niche (feather tip pens – yes, please!).

One part of the cafe hosts a long table and it’s framed with the stuff.

This is also where they host their many workshops (check out the website for the hard details).

It’s a café, so it’s got to have good coffee, right?

For the coffee side of the outfit, Yusuf comes into the picture. Originally from Iraq, he’s now the guy manning the coffee machine, and the one lending the inspiration to the ‘France meets Orient’ vibe of the café.

And boy, does he serves a mean cup of coffee. And before you ask what bean they’re grinding (as we know this was on the tip of your tongue 😉 ) they’ve gone with the legendary Viennese coffee brand, Naber. We agree that this is a solid choice, while sipping our second Espresso and feeling quite at home in this neatly arranged place.

When French cuisine meets the Orient

The menu is small, but well curated. At first glance, you’ll immediately notice how truly French this place is. A lot of their ingredients and especially the desserts are imported directly from France while most of their fresh produce is sourced locally, though.

They’ve even got French bread, including the typical baguettes and croissants, from the popular first district French bakery, Paremi.

After studying the menu for a while and sampling some of the food, you’ll notice the Oriental influence at sous-bois Café.

One breakfast dish, the Kirkuk, is a platter of herder’s cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus, a boiled egg, olives and bread and all is sprinkled with some delicious oriental spice blend. Simple, but really tasty. Especially the spice mix.

sous-bois Café breakfast

Then there’s the Café Gourmand, that’s a Espresso that comes with three different types of sweets. It’s the perfect fusion of French with the Orient. It comes with one of the French dessert classics, a Macaron, Fromage Blanc, a French yoghurt with chestnut cream, and a piece of Baklava.

With warm hospitality comes a new neighbourhood cafe…

There’s a seemingly non-stopping stream of customers swinging by during our stay. Chloé, Yusuf and their team make an extra effort to do more than just serve good quality coffee and delicious French bites. We notice that they’re proud of what they’re doing and it shows.

Stepping into the shop will put you into paper-heaven.

You can read all about this cute little shop, we kinda’ fall in love with every time we’re here in our review.


This will certainly become a beloved hideout for those who get excited when they notice the small things that make up beauty (hence the people who’ll buy a notebook for 50€ to doodle in). And for those who love all things French.

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