We love the café scene in Paris. Sitting at a sidewalk café sipping a rosé and maybe enjoying a “croque” while watching the world go by – it’s relaxing and exciting at the same time.
But, there seems to be a million cafés to choose from. How do you know you are finding a good one, and not a tourist trap? Here are 3 quick tips:
1. Get away from the busy tourist spots. Sometimes we want to sit with a front-and-center view of the Eiffel Tower. But, just know that you are over-paying for that glass of wine, and the atmosphere & service may not be top-notch.
So, when you find yourself on a busy square surrounded by tourist sights, walk around the corner, or just down the street. Or, better yet, find a quiet alley nearby. You will be sitting with the locals, rather than other tourists. The service will probably be better and prices will not be inflated.
2. Look for a busy spot. This may seem to go against tip #1, but if you can get away from the busy tourist area, and find a busy café that means that you found a good spot. If the locals are flocking there, you want to be there, too. It could be that the café has great happy hour specials, or it means the food, drinks & service are great. Either way, it’s a win for you!
Now, it can be a little uncomfortable — you will probably feel like you are sitting on the lap of a Parisian. But, it will be worth the effort.
3. Sit outside, facing out. Many cafés have cute interiors, but when in Paris, sit outside. If it’s cool, don your scarf and sit by a heater. If it’s warm, find a table under the awning, or just bask in the French sunshine! Outside is the place to be!
Our favorite cafés have all the chairs facing out to the street. Sometimes, you just can’t find that setup, but when you do, grab a spot! People-watching is a favorite Parisian pastime, so a table with both seats facing out means that everyone get’s to take part. Sit back and watch the action of Paris.
Please note: European (and, Parisian) restaurant etiquette and procedures are a little different than how it works in the U.S. Keep an eye out in the next week for our post on tips to make you seem like a local.