The weekend is here and for many it will be a long weekend as it is Memorial Day and the unofficial start to summer here in the states. To start this weekend I wanted to do a new series for the blog called La Vie Parisienne, the literal meaning is Parisian life. It will be a small space to explore one aspect of the Parisian (or French) life. It could be style related, food related, lifestyle related…really anything to inspire or indulge our inner Francophile. Since it will be a long weekend and the unofficial start for summer, this week I am going to explore the outdoor café.
When you think of Paris or France in general I am sure the one thing that comes to mind are those quaint outdoor cafes. They are on nearly every street corner where people are crammed into those little tables and their chairs are all facing out towards the street so as to people watch while they enjoy a café crème, a wine, a croissant, or simple sandwich to name a few. It is a place to see and be seen. Those chairs and tables that are ornately made and decorated sets the scene for any Parisian street.
The tables are always small, usually just enough to fit 1-4 people and can be topped with marble, wood or laminate and the chairs with their unmistakable iconic look and shape is all part of the joie de vivre of visiting the French cafés.
Cafés are a great place to recharge after walking all day and a place to enjoy a simple coffee and bite to eat. You will not find large food items on the menu, but more like small bites to eat such as a soup, pastry, small dessert, sandwich, salad or egg dish. It’s a place to replenish the body and the soul as you sit for a long period of time nibbling a small dish of food and sipping a drink.
Since it is the unofficial start of summer, the ubiquitous café is one of those things that I look forward to incorporating into my summer. While we may not have the standard Parisian café around every corner, we do have plenty coffee shops and restaurants that offer outdoor seating that can be enjoyed the same as a Parisian café. To create this little joie de vivre in your life is as simple as finding a few good places to enjoy a coffee and light meal such as a pastry, dessert or sandwich. You can go with the intension of staying for a longer period of time to read a book, chat with a friend or people watch in the more busier areas. It is a most pleasant experience to just sit and be and to let the time pass with no agenda and no hurry. It is a time to slow down and when better to take advantage of incorporating this French lifestyle staple into your own life than the slow days of summer? I will sometimes go to the shopping areas here in Raleigh and visit the boutiques and then go to a coffee shop and order a latte (in a real cup) and order a pastry and sit outside and take my time relaxing and people watching.
So this summer indulge your inner Frenchie and pick a few good coffee houses or restaurants to visit throughout the season and create a little Parisian charm into your everyday life.