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Friday, February 04, 2005

starbucks invades paris: bien ou pas?

like many americans in paris, i was secretly thrilled when starbucks announced its opening in paris last year. since then, i've been there on occasion, to relish a superhot extra large boission or a muffin, treats from home. although it seemed destined to become a hangout for the local expat community, more and more french have taken a liking to it as well.

last week i had a starbucks craving and so i stopped by the odeon branch after a long day of shopping tours. i was surprised to find that not a single table was open, and in fact, i had to wait to get a chair. gaggles of girls from the nearby lycee made up a few tables, as did neighborhood college students and the random american student. for the most part, though, it seemed like the french way outnumbered the americans.

is this a good thing? will the french abandon their cafes for overpriced, 5 euro coffee drinks? je ne crois pas. is it the latest trend from the US? i think so. i still have mixed feelings about it, and as long as it doesn't replace the neighborhood cafe, pas de probleme. the most pathetic scenerio, i believe, is seeing tourists, in paris for only a limited time, lining up to pay beaucoup for a latte, when they could be paying half the price and gaining oodles of ambiance by going to a nearby cafe. if you are just grabing a hot cup of joe to take with you on your stroll along the quais, great. but if you want to see the real paris, sit in a cafe and watch the city go by.


Anonymous said...

Mind you, is it me or are Paris coffees getting more and more expensive? It's very difficult to find a créme for under €3.50... and for that I can get a grande cap in Starbucks, rather depressingly!

Anonymous said...

You can't beat the ambiance in the Parisien cafés especially now that the weather is getting nice - try the terrasse !

Anonymous said...

Wifi Internet access is not aailable at everycafé, but Starbucks does it!