May 4, 2011

My Café in Paris

Paris Café

It didn't take me long to find "my" café during the week I spent in Paris last December.

My hours at the fromagerie meant that I was up and out the door before most of the city's inhabitants had even gotten out of bed. That first freezing cold morning I simply made a beeline for the only open café in the neighborhood.
I knew I would need a serious caffeine jolt and some filling, buttery pastry before jumping on the Métro and heading to work.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

une noisette & croissant

The second morning I came in from the dark, snow covered street and the waiter immediately recognized me (and my accent, no doubt) and we started chatting. By day three I was a regular.
"Un café crème et un croissant, comme d'hab'?" he would ask as soon as I walked through the door.

We shared stories all week long and after hearing about my apartment hunting woes, he offered to give me the number of his friend who was vacating his place. Unfortunately it was a small, very expensive studio in the Marais, so I politely declined.

At the end of the week I said goodbye and told him that I would be back for un p'tit café as soon as we found an apartment and settled in.


As you know, we didn't move to Paris in the end, so I've never had the chance to go back to the café and thank him for my morning coffee, croissant and conversation. It was only a small part of my day, but it made the week's frustrations a bit more tolerable.

Now what is all this nonsense about rude Parisian waiters? Pin It


spacedlaw said...

They have got MUCH better in the past 20 years, I must say.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

You know, I lived in Paris in the 1990s for nearly 6 years and I never ever understood the fuss about "rude" waiters. I love this post. I can't wait to get back to *my* café this summer :)

Vivi said...

I've never understood it either, haven't met one yet!

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

I love finding a haven to anchor me like that. I actually have an Italian coffee place in my neighborhood here that I've been going to for years. Probably because it feels like I might be somewhere else for a few lovely moments every morning. And it's nice to be "known." I love this post : )

Lost In Cheeseland said...

Love this! Having that café you can call your own is priceless in Paris. Best feeling in the world. Next time you visit you should pop in to see him!

daphne said...

where was that by the way? it seems like a nice place to sit down, have a cafe read a book or just chat with the waiter :)

bill said...

i agree. i am always amazed at the attention, efficiency and care i receive at cafés in paris. last trip i asked a waiter what was in a bowl that i saw go to another table, next thing i knew he delivered a complimentary bowl to me.

Murissa Maurice said...

One of the things I am excited about to visit France and Paris is the buttery pastery. All the croissants in Italy were sweet and didn't have that flaky crust.

Lovely post. Can't wait to find my cafe!

The Wanderfull Traveler

Chez Loulou said...

Not sure how that happened, but it is a wonderful thing!

I had one bad experience, many years ago, but haven't had one since.
I'm happy that you're going back to your café this summer. How long will you be in Paris?

It is a ridiculous stereotype. What can we do to get rid of it?

Chez Loulou said...

It was a little bit of comfort during a long, cold, lonely week. And it was nice to feel welcomed so quickly.
Glad you enjoyed this post. :)

It was the best feeling!
I plan on stopping by for a visit next time I'm there. Which will be soon, I hope!

I don't remember the name of the café, but it was on the rue du Temple. I'll recognize it when I see it again and I must jot down the name!

Chez Loulou said...

I had a similar experience during the after work, apéro hour. It was very nice!

When you find a good bakery in Paris, you'll want to go back again and again.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I have only been to Paris once but I certainly did not find any rude waiters! Diane

Mlle Paradis said...

so nice to be able to say "my cafe"!

ckb said...

Did you tell us what café it is? Did I miss something?

Emm said...

Lovely picture, and it sounds like a great cafe. I don't usually drink coffee, so what's the difference between a cafe creme and cafe au lait? Or is it as simple as cream or milk?

Sharon T said...

I dream of having "my café". I'll be able to have one for a few days in the fall. I must be satisfied with that...for now :)

Chez Loulou said...

Nice to hear another good story! And you should go back to Paris for another visit. :)

Mlle Paris
Very true...
It was so nice to have a welcoming spot to have my breakfast every morning.

I never wrote down the name, but it was on the rue du Temple. Cross street, no idea! Not far from BHV. I will know it the next time I see it.

My understanding is this:
a café au lait is a bowl of coffee and hot milk that is a breakfast drink one makes at home.
A café crème is a small coffee (espresso) and hot milk, though I have seen some make it with cream, and this one is ordered in a café.

If anyone can add to this, please do!

Do you have one where you live that you call your own? :)

Kristin said...

Thanks for your lovely comment today! I believe my favourite thing in Paris is cafes!!! My husband and I try to visit as many as we can :) :) To sit there listening to the French language, eating French pastries, drinking cappuccinoes....I just love it! Glad you found your own! Have a beautiful day!

x Kristin

Chez Loulou said...

Sitting in a café and watching people is one of my favorite activities in Paris.
Have a nice weekend!

katiez said...

Rude waiters? It's a myth. Never met one. Isn't it wonderful how fast one can become a 'local'? (sort of?)

Sharon T said...

That would be the espresso machine and bar counter in my own kitchen! :)

Chez Loulou said...

I was amazed by how quickly I (sort of) became a local.
So where did this rude French waiter stereotype come from, anyway?

Can I come live with you? ;)

emiglia said...

Aww... sweet story! I only just found my café after living in Paris for four years. To be fair, the waiter actually recognizes my boyfriend, who buys his cigarettes there, but I'll take it.

Chez Loulou said...

My husband has "presence" so most people usually remember him, rather than me. :)
Glad you finally found your café!

scrambleddegg said...

First off I have NEVER demanded someone speak english when traveling. In my travels I found some rude people but they have been everywhere. Probably had a bad moment or day just prior to, "waiting,"on me.

My wife and I have several wonderful café experiences. One where the chanteur asked us to stay after the café closed to the waiter who opened the beer by propping the bottle between his legs... I guess he doesn't like beer. Too funny. Vive la France!

Jennifer Greco said...

Thanks for sharing your stories. :)