Heavens is lounging in a sidewalk café

What I miss most in Marin County are French-style sidewalk cafés.

Les Deux Magots

Places that are a world away from the indistinguishable, characterless holes in the wall called Starbucks.

A café worthy of its name must have a terrace or at least a spot on the sidewalk. Where else could tourists leisurely gawk at other tourists for just a few euros?

Without a place in the sun, the venue is just a plain “bistrot”, a small bar where standing at the counter, you quickly down an “espresso” or a Cognac. It is the poor relative of a reputable café and does not pretend to be anything else.

By the way, the origin of this quintessentially French word is said to be Russian. “Bistrot” (Бистро́) means “quick” in Russian and “it is a legacy of the Russian occupation of Paris after the defeat of Napoleon’s Grande Armée at Waterloo in 1815.” Russian soldiers would sneak away to a drinking place and shout “bistrot, bistrot” for a quick drink. I don’t know if it helped…

Mais revenons à nos moutons !

A terrace is important because it feels like a safe harbor for tired pedestrians and lost tourists. They can enjoy a room with a view of a fancy district while giving their sweaty feet a rest. Contrarily to cheap coffee shops, a café is a place where the customer is king and does not have to wait in line to get some refreshment.

In a real café, you pick your own table and wait for a waiter to take your order. And beverages are not served in paper containers, but in real cups… with handles. Yes, you might pay a little more than at Starbucks, but heck, you only live once… grab it while you can.

Famous sidewalk cafes in Paris like Les Deux Magots, Le Café de Flore, La Closerie des Lilas are not strictly focused on making money. They have a good name to protect, and their first order of business is to please customers. Profit, while important is just secondary to this.

I wish that Elon Musk could be made aware of my predicament and instead of wasting his money on Twitter, spend a portion of his stash on opening a few nice flowery cafés in my neighborhood. What do you think?

Elon, you can call me night or day if you feel that my proposition has some merit.

Toot-a-loo

Alain

« Tous les matins, j’apporte à ma femme le café au lit. Elle n’a plus qu’à le moudre. »  Coluche

2 thoughts on “Heavens is lounging in a sidewalk café”

  1. What about the Depot Cafe and Bookstore? Still open? I used to play chess there in the 1980s.

    1. I am not sure that it is still open… I used to go there quite a bit more than 20 years ago… totally forgot it. Might give it another try. Thank you Bleys.

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