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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Where to find a cheap cup of coffee in Paris

Rightly or wrongly, it's perhaps one of those things which is, for many tourists, synonymous with Paris: sitting in one of the French capital's cafés, drinking a coffee while watching the world and its mother pass by.

It might be something of a cliché, but plenty do it, although perhaps a warning should be attached as it comes at a price.

Because the cost of what is, after all, not a particularly spectacular "expresso" can reach astronomical proportions in some places.

For example, if you fancy parking your backside at the mythical Café de Flore in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter where some of the country's greatest intellectuals such Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir have in the past, be prepared to dig deep into your wallet or purse.

A simple coffee will set you back €4.40.

Head on over to Café de la Paix in the ninth arrondissement, another favourite haunt of past literary greats such as Émile Zola and Guy de Maupassant, and the price rises to - gulp - €6.

And if your tastes run more to the more Bling Bling variety of the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, then Fouquet's, in the heart of "the most beautiful avenue in the world", the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, is the place for you.

Be warned though. Don't expect any change from a - wait for it - €10 note.

Those are the prices quoted recently in a piece in Le Figaro, and are what you can expect to pay if you want to sit down at a table rather than knock back a coffee at the counter where prices are cheaper (well they could hardly be more expensive, could they?)

Thankfully though, help is at hand for those who still want a coffee without risking financial ruin.

The official website of the Mairie de Paris has listed all the places in the city where the cost of a coffee isn't more than €1.

Yes, it's possible the website insists and although it admits that in most cases the price quoted is for downing a coffee at the bar, there are also what it calls "rare gems" where you can sit down and be served.

The map showing where cafés are located has been compiled using contributions from social networks such as Twtter and online questionnaires.

In other words it's totally interactive and depends on the input of "those in the know" to remain up-to-date.

So if you're wandering around the City of Light, feel like a coffee and would prefer to "do" the Parisian thing rather than track down the nearest Starbucks (always an alternative of course) try looking on the Mairie's site.

Simply click on the coffee cup symbol and up pops the address with additional info as to whether you can sit down and enjoy (very few it reality) or drink at the bar (the majority of cases).

Or, if you're feeling particularly penny (er...perhaps centime) pinching but still want a shot of caffeine, you could take a flask along for the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've recently visited Paris with my daughter and we found a good place to have coffee (and cakes). McDonalds! They have what is called Mc Café - and there are several in Paris.


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