Paris, France: Café Culture

Paris, France: Café Culture


I punctuate my museum-going with a little
café sitting. This makes particularly good sense in Paris: home of so much beautiful
art, and the ultimate café culture. With over 12,000 cafés,
there’s always one nearby. Cafés are where friends rendezvous…and
we’re meeting up with Steve Smith, co-author of my France guidebook and a
consummate café sitter. Rick: You know café, that’s a tip in itself
isn’t it? Just café in Paris. Steve: It’s a good tip. It’s a place to
order what you want, when you want, on your own terms, in your own time really. You could
be indoors at a restaurant watching the person next to you eat or out here watching the conveyor
belt of Parisians go by. And you’re living with Parisians. In fact it’s their living
room. You know most Parisians’ apartments are a little bit bigger than your hotel room.
Rick: Half the locals here are probably living down the street.
Steve: Almost all of them who come here come on a regular basis and they’re on first
name basis with their waiter. Rick: So a lot of Americans find tipping a
little bit confusing. Steve: In France the waiter’s tip is included…15%
of your bill goes to the waiter. You’ve already paid him. Tax and tip are included.
Rick: What do you do then? Steve: If your waiter was nice to you, or
your waitress, leave a couple of Euros. That’s very polite, round up. If your bill was
18 Euros leave 20, something like that. Rick: Now, a lot of Americans are frustrated
by what they call slow service. Steve: Yeah. I hear that all the time.
In France, slow service is good service. Rick: It’s good service!
Steve: Remember, it’s not about how fast you eat. It’s about how well you eat.

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26 thoughts on “Paris, France: Café Culture”

  • Slow service = good service in France!

    (Enjoy more free travel videos on demand via https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/rick-steves-europe-video/id158175220?mt=2)

  • I have to laugh at some of the comments on here. Most Americans know "nothing" about culture! The Europeans know how to live! Americans have it all "backwards". The Europeans appreciate "good food and drink". American's have this "fast-food" culture that is very unhealthy. Why would you go to Paris and want to eat Burger King? When you travel to another country, do what the locals do! In France (europe), slow service IS good service, because good food and drink should be enjoyed "slowly" and "appreciated".

  • Nice cafe and all. But don't be fooled by this this so called "cultured" cafe culture of Paris. Tourists from all over the world consistently say in surveys that the French are the least friendly and most rude of all people of Europe. And with all that European progress you still have people smoke cancer sticks next to others in the cafe. Disgusting!

  • Just returned from Paris yesterday and was delighted by their way of life. They exist on a level of order and sophistication far higher than we in the US. I'm knocking the US but rather stating my personal observation which, coincidentally, seems to be the consensus. In addition, my experience in Paris was all positive. I encountered no rudeness or arrogance. Importantly, I always made a conscious effort to speak as much French as I could at which point they happily spoke english to me. I cannot wait to return.

  • goodness, why do you have to rush to enjoy a very good cup of coffee! I'm relieved that these guys enjoy their time sipping their brew.

  • This is so wonderful. Americans have no sense of culture or class and want to do everything fast and now. They don’t know relaxation or how to slow down or enjoying smaller details.

  • Maravilloso París me gustaría ir en febrero gracias por el video siempre veo los q pasan en el canal 23 el 17 aquí en miami siempre me gustan mucho saludos desde miami

  • This pub (Les Deux Magots) is very famous at Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. It used to be the water-hole of the intellectual class. Now it's mainly touristy, but still very Parisian.

  • I have never understood why some foreigners say Parisians are rude. The rudest and most arrogant people I have ever met are the Londoners.