Caffè Stern is located inside Passage des Panoramas, the oldest of seventeen arcades in Paris to have survived Haussmann's urban renovation of the mid-1800s when most of these ornate walkways were replaced by grands magasins (department stores). The space that now houses Caffè Stern was originally opened as a letterpress in 1834 by Moïse Stern and Anselme Aumoitte.
In 1849, the two entrepreneurs rented several small shops inside the Passage at the intersection of Galerie des Variétés and Galerie Feydeau, which would become their apartments and the headquarters of their flourishing business.
Stern eventually took over the business, renaming it Maison Stern and designing the ex-libris (bookplate) that hangs as a large sign above the entrance to Caffè Stern still to this day. The sign contains the dates 1867 and 1889, the two years in which Stern was awarded a gold medal at the World Fair.
In 1980 Moïse invited his son René to join the business, renaming it Stern et fils.
Over the years, the business was passed down from generation to generation and the traditional letterpress techniques were maintained.
In 2008, Maison Stern moved from Passage des Panoramas to 131 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th arrondissement.
On July 10, 2009, Maison Stern, including its interiors and furnishings was named a Historic Monument of France.
The space remained closed to the public until September 2014 when it was reopened by the Alajmo brothers. Today, Caffè Stern is an Italian-style coffeehouse and bistro, allowing the public to enjoy a part of French history.