Cool Stuff in Paris. By Manning Leonard Krull.

A general note about cafés, bars, and restaurants

It's been a bit tricky writing up the Cafés, Bars, and Restaurants sections, because the lines that separate these things can be very blurry, and indeed, the café where you drink your coffee in the morning can become the restaurant where you have dinner in the evening and then the bar where you have drinks with friends at night. A lot of the places in those lists could fit into more than one category. So what I've done is categorize these places for this site based on which part of what they offer makes for the most pleasant and interesting experience, in my opinion. There are some great cafés where I love to sit and read out front, but I probably wouldn't eat there, just because there's nothing interesting about the menu, or the food is expensive and you're really just paying for the view (so it's best to stick with a coffee), etc.

Sometimes the lines between these categories is nice and clear-cut; a bar that has mostly beer and liquor and serves no food is clearly a bar and not a restaurant or café. A fancy restaurant where you wouldn't feel comfortable sitting down and just ordering a coffee and reading a book is clearly not a café or a bar.

But the café is the trickiest; they almost all serve food, and they almost all have a bar in them. You can sip a coffee and leisurely read the paper while seated next to a group of businessmen having a big lunch, while the neighborhood old guys drink a beer at the bar. Sometime the "old man bar" by day becomes the hip, trendy, young person bar by night. If you only visit the place at one time of day, you'd never suspect how much the atmosphere and clientele can change from hour to hour.

Anyway, I think I'm getting off track! What is a café? What is a bar? What is a restaurant? Oh man, this whole article got a lot more existential than I'd intended!

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