France’s vibrant café and restaurant life has begun to return to normal. The outdoor cafes opened on May 19, and on June 9, we are also allowed to sit inside.
The French are happy.
According to a survey, they appreciate being able to sit on an outdoor café terrace more than going to the cinema, theatre or shopping. There were many (we among them) who defied heavy rain clouds on May 19 and sat happily at a local café.
Having a coffee or an aperitif in a café is part of life in France. If you are in a hurry, a coffee standing at the bar is a popular alternative. There, the coffee costs only around half the price. If you sit down, on the other hand, you can stay as long as you want. The empty coffee cup/wine glass is never removed as long as the guest remains.
A traditional café in France opens at 7 in the morning. If you are hungry, you can usually have a croissant or a “tartine”, a half split baguette with butter or jam. Later in the morning, the croissants typically run out. Lunch service is between 12 and 14.30. After lunch, you come for coffee or a drink. Some cafés close at 8 pm; others also serve dinner.
Today, of course, there are all sorts of variations of the traditional French café.