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AUSTRALIAN WOMENS TRAVEL

             Small Group Tours: Travel for Women

Spotlight Cafes in Paris

CAFES IN PARIS

You really know you have arrived in Paris, when you start to see all of the cafes (which seem to be practically on every corner!).With their coloured and well maintained canvas awnings, beautifully printed signage on them, little parisienne tables and woven little chairs, they are alluring and I just have to get myself in there in an attempt to be a part of this beautiful city.


When it comes to style, art, culture, food and drink, the French are the undisputed kings and Paris is their crown jewel. A city bursting at the seams with fabulous sidewalk cafés, bars and restaurants renowned for their famous clientele. There is nothing more French, or more specifically, Parisian, than taking a few moments out of your day to sit with an espresso in one of the city's thousands of cafes. Drinking and people-watching is one of the most cherished past-times in France. Paris is the world or ‘The Flanner ‘literally translated ‘Gentlemen stroller of City Streets ‘to see and be seen. And there is no better place to watch the passing procession than on the sidewalk of Paris in a cafe. This is the reason that a lot of cafes all have their chairs facing outwards.


Cafes have always served an essential social function in Parisian life. They’ve been around for centuries in one form or another. Paris cafes are a meeting place, neighbourhood hub,

 the rendezvous spot, networking source, a place to relax or to refuel, the social and political pulse of the city. Some Paris cafes are really a home away from home for a built-in clientele of people who all know one another, or of one another.


There are about 7000 cafes in Paris in the 1880’s their where 45,000!!

While it is recorded that coffee made slow progress with the court of Louis XIV, the next king, Louis XV, to please his mistress, du Barry, gave it a tremendous vogue. It is related that he spent $15,000 a year for coffee for his daughters.

Meanwhile, in 1672, one Pascal, an Armenian, first sold coffee publicly in Paris. Pascal, offered the beverage for sale from a tent, which was also a kind of booth, in the fair of St.-Germain, supplemented by the service of Turkish waiter boys, who peddled it among the crowds from small cups on trays.


And what of that little distinction that cafés were in fact named for the French word for coffee? Well, the coffee is not necessarily always of gourmet quality, or with the dizzying variety found in the Starbucks of the world. It is usually adequate, occasionally excellent, but one cannot argue with the fact that a cup of coffee at Paris cafes is the cheapest conceivable way of paying for a prime spot to sit undisturbed for a couple of hours, and delightfully watch the world go by.

That’s the Parisian way.

MARY HAMILTON- SMITH : AUSTRALIAN WOMENS TRAVEL