Paris is an iconic capital that attracts visitors from everywhere in the world with its wide variety of activities and promises of pleasure. In this blog post, I would like to speak about one of my passions of living in Paris – the Parisian café experience.
I was still a child when I heard a famous Brazilian writer describe to a TV audience the thing he most enjoyed to do. He said, “As a coffee lover, one of the things I most enjoy about my life of travel is the pleasure of going to France, taking a coffee in Paris, and reading a book”. It sounded a simple thing to do, yet he made it sound like a special life experience. Exploring this different way of having a coffee became one of my own goals. What did he mean by taking coffee in Paris?
I now know he was right—it is, without doubt, an exquisitely pleasurable experience. The cafés in Paris are places where you can simply take a coffee and read a book, or, depending on the style and neighborhood of the café, they may be places where you go to converse with friends or even conduct a business meeting.
The Parisian café is an historical institution with a traditional that dates back to the 17th century. To help you understand what it is like to be in a café in Paris, please let me take you on a short trip back to 1672 when the first Parisian cafés appeared, although, at that time, they were not considered desirable, and were not well frequented. However, by 1686 they were becoming popular although only the upper classes were able to afford them. By the 18th century, the cafés were offering far more then just a place to drink a cup of coffee. The tradition of the literary café had started and was attracting famous writers like Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau. The Paris cafés had become the forum for debating ideas and exchanging information. French philosophers, as well very important political figures such Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, were frequent visitors at the Parisian cafés.
The coffee shops of Paris are still considered the habitat of the city’s intellectuals. In addition to the beautiful atmosphere of a multicultural city, the streets display incredible architecture, and the sidewalks invite daydreaming as one wanders through the charming landscapes of districts like Saint-Germain-les-Pres, Montmartre, Opéra, Louvre, Palais Royale, Champs-Elysèes and Bastille.
Visiting the cafés of Paris is an inspiring way to find new ideas, it motivates one to enjoy life to the last drop, and it must surely be the pleasantest way to drink coffee in the world.
Ana Paula Mendes