Friday, August 16, 2013

PARIS - The Cafe Pages

A peek into four different cafes and four different experiences.

La Pause Beaubourg
Streetside, under the striped awning

La Pause Beaubourg, Paris Cafe by DG Hudson

Leftovers of Love

At Le Pause Beaubourg, we witnessed the emotional aftermath of a romantic breakup when a guy in his twenties had a meltdown right in front of us, live and just across the aisle. He maintained a running one-sided conversation/rant with his sympathetic friend. He, the rejected victim of his love, was besotted with the unfairness in life. His own lack of restraint and the response from the staff at the restaurant rather surprised us. He waved his hands about, put his head in his hands, and he couldn't sit still. He cared little for the other diners. His heart was broken. Understandable.

In most circumstances, or in many cities, the poor lover would have been hustled out. But in this cafe, no one complained and no one was bothered. Instead, a few of the staff patted the 'poor guy' on the shoulders as they went about their work. Perhaps on another day, this 'poor romantic' worked in this cafe.

There must be a story in this scene, somewhere. And a villain. . .

Observation: Love conquers all, but it exacts its cost along the way.


Cafe Louis Phillippe
by the Seine River

Cafe Louis Phillippe, Rainy Night Paris, by DG Hudson


Facing the Ile Saint-Louis, le Cafe Louis-Phillippe sits in the same square as the Hotel de Ville, a space it has occupied since 1810. Like many others walking by the Seine River, we wanted French cafe cooking and shelter from the rain. The golden glow of this restaurant drew us in.

Paris rain found us sitting under a full-sided tent style tarp next to a group of mostly male office workers. 'Undercover' sidewalk eating makes sense in Paris and we stayed dry and cozy. Good service, good wine and helpful, friendly staff. Cafe Louis-Phillippe is situated in an area popular with urbanites as well as tourists. After dessert, the rain had stopped, leaving a smell of fresh streets and dampness.

Observation: The love of good food and good company is universal. Rain doesn't stop that.


Cafe des Arts et Metiers
Latin Quarter

Cafe des Arts et Metiers, Latin Quarter by DG Hudson

What's going on?

In the Cafe des Arts et Metiers, one young waiter with a friendly attitude, kept spilling things on a young couple a few tables away from us. Their backpacks made them appear to be students. They seemed to be talking earnestly or arguing. . .was this sensitivity to a moment, or did the waiter not like what the young man was saying to the young girl? The spill seemed to be more on the guy's side of the table when it happened. . . Interesting to note that the waiter had impeccable touch when he waited our table, but I later saw him observing the couple at the table.

Observation: In Paris, never underestimate the value of having the waiter on 'your side'.


Le Voltaire Restaurant

Le Voltaire Restaurant, Paris, by DG Hudson

Resistance is Futile

As we sat waiting, we watched Madame Hostess establish her claim on the cafe turf. She nodded to us and seated us in a table perfect for observation and facing the door. In came a young woman, likely a tourist by her abrupt insistence that she be served only wine, no food. The hostess or proprietor told her in no uncertain terms that this was a Restaurant! Restaurant! and not a place to just drink. She sent her away.

Then a woman-of-a-certain-age came in with her shopping bags, plopped them on a tabletop and sat down. Our efficient hostess watched, then approached, told her to remove her bags and wait to be seated. A bit of feminine huffiness ensued. After an apology by said customer, Madame Hostess let her stay.

Now, Madame came to our table to take our order. We ordered the German beer that she recommended, and a quiche. She liked our choices, even smiled at us, as we ordered in our basic French. Guess we passed muster. The 'old French bistro' style decor survives in this cafe and adds to its attraction.

Observation: In an area with high tourist traffic, there may be more sensitivity to tourists' behavior. Be aware.


These 'Cafe Pages' are based on true events observed in Paris. Interesting people do catch my attention.

Are you an observer? Do you try to be aware of your surroundings? Sometimes these events or scenes unfold in front of us like a play. I'm referring to those incidents which are not life-threatening. Have you had a similar experience?

Please share in the comments. Thanks for stopping by! 



Check the Paris Posts tab at the top of the blog for more Paris photos and Paris - Bistros and Sidewalk Cafés of Interest for more information on the bistros.

Update: Oct.2013