You wouldn’t think that a bunch of cats would amount to a tourist destination especially when you are in Paris for the first time and thus have a full list of potential big sites to see. But then you would underestimate our affinity for the little furry things. This affinity is enhanced by the fact that we do not own a cat (lease restrictions) and thus oogle and dote over them any chance we get. The Cafe des Chats in Paris was not the first cat cafe in the world- that honor apparently goes to Taipei.
We approached along a narrow side street and upon entry were promptly greeted by two furry friends, one laying on the counter with the cash register and the other on a bench near the door. We were welcomed with a ‘boujour!’ by the two-legged staff and told to pick a table through the folding doors and read the 3 house rules: no feeding the cats, no waking up of cats and no flash photos, oh and wash your hands (hand gel provided). (Unlike some cat cafes who charge a cover fee, this one is free!) We went through the doors to find the cozy eatery with several patrons in the middle of their meals with furry felines lounging about in various stages of their afternoon naps. We decided to explore the cellar level too. It was a catacombs of little enclaves and tunnels with tables, couches (a piano!) but only 1 cat and no people.
(the situation during peak tourist season is quite different apparently!)
He stayed there while we ordered, and was joined by another friend as our drinks were served.
A young boy with his mom was wandering around playing with any and all of the cats and came to ‘our’ cats several times to play, a French student with his mac lounged on the couch with ‘his’ two felines as we chatted and chuckled at the furry entertainment.
I was wandering around taking pictures of all of the cats and some people too.
It was then the greatest feature of the cafe became apparent… cats create a social vehicle for strangers to interact! SHOCK! Even if Paris! Even amongst cultures that are known to hiss and bristle at each other… French people, American people, mingling and chatting together!! I wither, I faint. How can this be? But yes, feline diplomacy trumps all.
I hear there is a cat cafe opening up in DC soon so be sure to pounce on that when it does!