Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, Night

If you’re planning a stay in any of the hostels in Paris it probably means you are going to be involved in some serious sightseeing. But as you dash in and out of galleries and museums, do not forget to take some time out to indulge in something else the town is very famous for – its café culture. The café-bars of the French capital are renowned around the world, and there is good reason for that. Sitting quietly sipping coffee in a Parisian café is one of life’s great pleasures! As is well documented, but the city’s café culture is quite unique, and it pays to be aware of some local etiquette.

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On first glance, in high-profile places coffees can appear somewhat expensive, but if you consider you’ll have the ability to take your time, relax, read, write postcards or just watch the world go by, it doesn’t look all that bad. You’ll never feel rushed and can sit at a table for an hour or two with no waiter batting an eyelid.

No Smoking

As in any public place now in France (including most of the hostels in Paris), smoking is not allowed in cafés. If you’re offended by the smell of smoke, stay indoors and choose a table which won’t be affected by travelling fumes.

Grab a Bite

You can often also order a straightforward three-course meal special.

Not Just Coffee

Even though the word café means coffee, the cafés in France are actually called café-bars. This means they serve all kinds of drinks, both hot and cold, and you can purchase anything from water to beer or wine.

Service Charge

Obviously, if you want to leave an extra tip that’s your decision, but keep in mind something will have been included in the purchase price.

The Parisian Way

The concept of sitting in a Parisian café evokes images of romance and’times gone by’. The civilization originated when life in town was far more leisurely and people could afford to devote plenty of time whiling away the hours. That luxury is no longer available for the normal person, and in the past 50 years there has been a huge decline in the amount of cafés in the city. It could even be argued that the culture today relies for the most part on tourists and visitors staying in the hotels and hostels. In Paris today, for locals, the pace of life is that a coffee break is short and sweet.

While traditional cafés may be in decline, they certainly won’t disappear, especially if people do their bit to preserve them. Get the best café (there is any number within walking distance of all the hostels in Paris), then just sit back and enjoy!

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