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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.

Jean Kelley

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27 COMMENTS

  1. OnTheGoWithCarson Posted on September 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I loved the Parisian Café's when I was there 🙂 

    Reply
  2. OneBagTravel Posted on September 10, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    My #1 reason I visit Paris. I love relaxing at a cafe people watching and not feeling rushed at all.

    Reply
  3. Dominic Gerrit Posted on September 10, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Great video! I must remember to take the time to relax at one of the many cafe's on my next visit to Paris.

    Reply
  4. Parrish Posted on September 10, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    LOVE this video…and the positive cultural education on understanding dining etiquette in France. 

    Reply
  5. Rick Steves' Europe Posted on September 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    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)

    Reply
  6. Gustavo Adolfo Posted on October 30, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Welcome to France British people.

    Reply
  7. ToonieMama Posted on September 9, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    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".

    Reply
  8. Sharon Evert Posted on November 4, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Cafe Clovis in Paris, anyone now how to find it?

    Reply
  9. StopFear Posted on March 19, 2016 at 3:15 am

    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!

    Reply
  10. YourLocalCatholicPriest Posted on November 15, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    you can't make a first name greeting with your waiter for it is considered only an American thing.

    Reply
  11. Eric_SWFL Posted on February 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    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.

    Reply
  12. Baer 5000 Posted on April 9, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    pari pari looks like paradise

    Reply
  13. Ditas Javier Posted on November 19, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    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.

    Reply
  14. Aaron Ying Posted on January 31, 2018 at 4:33 am

    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.

    Reply
  15. diomande michel lohi Posted on March 20, 2018 at 9:00 am

    bien chic

    Reply
  16. sochyvonn nora Posted on June 3, 2018 at 3:39 am

    Not a single person in that video drink coffee…that's quite funny

    Reply
  17. السلطنة الزرقاء Posted on June 12, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    very nice

    Reply
  18. Soulaymane Elebrahimi Posted on July 17, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    …………..

    Reply
  19. lexxi goddess Posted on October 5, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I love places like this, oh God, what a peaceful place, enjoy coffee latte, viewing nice people,

    Reply
  20. Marlen Rosado Posted on December 17, 2018 at 3:38 am

    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

    Reply
  21. Qcumber Posted on February 26, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    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.

    Reply
  22. Qcumber Posted on February 26, 2019 at 11:32 pm

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

    Reply
  23. Sophie Sadeghi Posted on May 25, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    I hate that people smoking in those cafes 😉

    Reply
  24. Nysythic Posted on October 3, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    "It's not about how fast you eat; it's about how well you eat." Not just travel advice, that's life advice.

    Reply
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