Parisans love their cafés. And we’re not just talking crema: we’re talking tables, chairs, the whole croissant and kaboodle. But they’re not the only ones with a bean scene. In cities like Sydney, Australia, where there are rapidly growing foodie movements, many citizens now look upon what used to be a revered institution – the café au lait – with disdain, believing their coffee to be the best in the world.
That said, tourists worldwide – Australians included – still look to the French café (if not coffee) experience with reverence, despite most Antipodes arrogantly (but not always incorrectly) asserting Parisian coffee tastes like burnt dishwater. Likewise, across the pond, many Americans still see France as a rite of passage, not just because of the museums and art galleries, but due to the al fresco culture and gastronomy, best experienced with a croissant in one hand and a noisette in the other.
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But other than our historical and cultural projections, what makes the French café experience so popular? One Paris-based photographer Patrick Colpron recently took to Instagram with an image (and caption) we believe sheds light on this question.
“Lorette & Les Garçons, Café life is when you just take the time to love a little instead of rushing from place to place. It is when you can afford to wait 15-20 minutes to have your order taken for a simple coffee and another 15-20 minutes to have it brought to you. The time it takes to fully enjoy the simple pleasure of another person’s company, a fresh newspaper or a good book.”
“Always something new to discover, taste and experience.”
Sounds simple but it’s a world away from the takeaway piccolos of Sydney or the laptop filled Starbucks’ of Los Angeles.
Despite the health risks of travelling at a time like this, many argue now could be the best period in history to visit Paris, with Politico reporting a 16 million drop in tourists and the WSJ writing that with such a decline in customers, “even waiters are friendly.”
Maybe as life gets ever more complicated, and global events threaten to raise the blood pressure of even the most well-adjusted individuals, we could all benefit from getting back to basics.
Your coffee and newspaper await.
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