Café Observations

I have decided I’m very inconsistent in my likes and dislikes. Or maybe just very particular.

A couple of years back I discovered a new café near the Marais in Paris. I really liked the fact it was very different to the usual French local, because of a distinctively Asian ambiance and zen-like atmosphere. It was actually more of a sideshow to the main purpose of the establishment, which was to sell excruciatingly expensive chocolates presented under glass with the reverence normally reserved for museum artifacts. Comfy armchairs, low tables and hardly any punters made it an ideal spot to while away a quiet hour with a good book or the paper.

Then one day last year sitting reading The Times, my husband found himself reading a review of the very seats we were sitting in. We were enormously amused by this, waved the article at the proprietors, deposited the copy with them when we left, and thought nothing more if it.

Our next visit was just after Christmas. There was a 45 minute wait for a table. The place was packed with visitors: not Brits, funnily enough, but Japanese. I was amused by the fact this French version of Asian aesthetic held such an attraction for visitors from the far east. When I go somewhere, I avoid British -feel places like the plague. I want to try and see behind globalization or variants of home, and instead experience the essence of somewhere new.

Anyway, I dropped by there again yesterday, and sadly concluded the café’s appeal for me has probably faded. Now discovered by the entire world, and clearly extremely popular with overseas visitors from all quarters of the globe (yes, I’m one, I know, but that’s what I mean by being inconsistent!) it means a quiet table to read in silence is no longer guaranteed so my peaceful zen moments will have to happen elsewhere.

Time moves on.


2 responses to Café Observations

  1. People watching, chocolate and good coffee. I love visiting Paris, and was shown Le Fumoir near the Louvre last time. Great old French style. We whiled away a lazy rainy afternoon there. My wife and I pass through life going from coffee to coffee, relaxing reading and watching the world is something that gives endless interest. Its a shame when something happens and the reason for success is lost because of the success.


    • gillianholding – Author

      Yep. At a wider level, whilst Eco-tourism in other parts of the world is a live issue, it’s ironic that even close to home there are challenges. I love reading those travel articles highlighting unspoilt destinations but then wonder about the damage they ultimately do…

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