Our hotel had no in-room coffee, or tea, or kettle. Thus begins the quest of every traveller- the basic sustenance of life- coffee. Cast into the wilds of Paris, one would think coffee could be easily attained as we tend to assume certain things about Europe: like that its just like America, only smaller and nicer looking. The basic human need for coffee at pretty much any time of the day is universal-Right?? Well, we would be wrong about that.
The hotel lobby had none to offer. Not wanting to fork out 12Euro for a full breakfast we thought, ‘lets just get one on the way to hubbies conference building’. So we started heading down the busy and very commercial streets south of the Parthenon. Passing the bagel shop we had seen the day before, we expected to pop in a grab a take-away latte. Wrong. Its not open yet. Its 8:15AM. Its a busy weekday in April. What up??
We continue walking… brasseries, bars, bistros all with closed doors or with hoses stretched across the patio being sprayed off. Finally we find a back alley Turkish bakery that seems to be open with no customers. We step in and try to order a take-away coffee. We get some quizzical looks but eventual nods of agreement: they could make some coffee. Five minutes later, the helpful lady produces two tiny plastic dixie cups of black brew. We pay and feel grateful to have been granted this small favor by the most beautiful city in the world.
So this is why, if you need coffee in the American way—you know–big, made to order and in a paper cup you can carry down the street- Starbucks and McDonalds are your friends. As embarrassing as it might be to patronize these global characterless chains in such a exotic city as Paris, girl got to do what she’s got to do!
So plan accordingly on your next trip to the City of Lights!