If there’s one perfect place to really “café it,” I would have to say that it would be Paris. (So all of you coffee and café lovers need to get on over there, okay?) My goodness, I never knew my love of cafés, or espresso for that matter, or croissants for that matter, or sugar cubes for that matter, or cute little café tables for that matter, or EVERYTHING THAT IS COFFEE AND PARIS for that matter – until I was there and I just knew. This was truly the way to café 😉
If you’ve never been to Paris, let me just tell you- there is a café practically on every single corner, and they’re all good. And it doesn’t feel at all ‘commercialized’ – does that make sense? Like, every café is what it is… each one authentic. One of the things I loved most about Paris was that so much of the culture seemed to revolve around relationships and conversation… the cafés were always occupied, whether it was by groups of friends, business meeting groups, dates, or a single person enjoying the tiny table to themselves, it was always bustling and in the absolute best way. And it didn’t matter what time of day – people sat at cafés at all hours… even drinking coffee late into the night.
During our time there, I did not witness many quiet moments at the cafés. Paris is definitely a city and a ‘moving’ one at that (at times it reminded me a bit of NYC, only a lot cleaner and friendlier), but I also never got the feeling that it was “go go go” in the sense of “I’m working myself to death” but rather “go go go” in the sense of “I’m making sure to live every single moment to the max.” Not only was this so refreshing, but a good reminder that ‘busy’ does not always mean ‘stressful’ or that you can’t be present. Sometimes ‘busy’ can simply mean you’re busy living, soaking up all of the moments, all of the flavors, all of the smells, all of the sounds, all of the sights… for as long as you can. Not once did I see anyone looking at their phones while sitting at a café, not once! I really felt encouraged to live life while in Paris. (Maybe it was all of the caffeine?)
For as bustling as it was, people really took their time while at cafés. So much in fact that Christian and I quickly realized we would need to slow our roll… people took their time to order, I swear the cooks took their time back in the kitchens, and the waiter/waitress really only came over to your table if you flagged him/her down. People came to cafés to drink, maybe grab a quick bite, and to converse. They mostly sat next to each other, facing the street, and would lean in close to talk. I loved this 🙂 So different.
Going to Paris has been a dream of mine for a long, long time and being able to experience it with Christian was awesome. Back when I graduated high school, my dad told me that as a graduation gift I could either get a new car or he’d take me (along with the fam) to Paris. When I chose the car he was shocked and said he thought for sure I would have chosen Paris… that’s when I told him, “Dad, no offense but I don’t want to go to Paris with my little brother and my parents.” haha 😉 It was completely surreal to sit at café after café with Christian right beside me… what a dream! At one point when we were sitting at a table, he said to me, “I want you to come back here tomorrow, on your own, to write and take time.” I can’t tell you how much I love and truly appreciate the fact that my husband “gets” my need to be still with my thoughts and to fill the pages of my journal… it gives me such a grateful heart!
I totally wanted to take this water glass home – how cute, right?!
It’s a miracle that I didn’t gain 2487520 lbs on this trip, considering the amount of times we stopped to experience a new café (but also re-visit our absolute favorite – I’ll share more about this in next week’s recaps) but as you might have guessed, we also did a TON of walking too… so it all evened out in the end 😉
We did a lot of talking and conversing while café-ing but we also did a lot of people watching. It hit me, during one of my people-watching-moments, that people here did not seem to care about the opinions of or being noticed by passerbys. I’m going to do my absolute best to NOT offend anyone with my next few statements but it’s something I noticed, something I journaled about while there, and something I think is interesting to think about. Often times, here in the states and in my observations, I feel like a lot of people go places to be seen. And surely that’s not the only reason people go to the places they go to but I will say that in Chicago, it often felt this way… that people would go to bars, restaurants, and coffee shops and pay more attention to others who might be looking at/noticing them versus putting 100% of themselves into the conversations they’re having with the people they came with, or the book they brought, or the journal they intended to write in.
Paris was not this way and once again, it was so refreshing to witness. They didn’t care about what others might have been thinking of them because no one else outside of their group was even paying attention to them (except the American, observing and journaling… #fortheblog) 😉
The coffee in Paris was much stronger (my kind of coffee!) and rich in taste, but most cafés offer more than just coffee, right?! After more observing, Christian and I noticed that a lot of people were drinking a beer called 1664 so of course we had to try it. We loved this beer so much; I’m hoping we can find it at World Market or something!
So basically what I’m trying to say here is that every café I visit now will be compared to all of the cafés of Paris. I mean, I’m ruined. But because I would never be able to quit coffee, and because I seriously LOVE doing this coffee tour linkup with my sweet girl Nelle and with all of you… I suppose I’ll keep on truckin’ 😉
Once a month, Nelle (from Simply Love) and I come together to share some of our favorite moments from some of our favorite cafés and coffee shops. Our hope is that you will join us too, on the last Friday of each month by linking up to share a few of your own personal favorite spots from your own town or travels.