This Saturday I went for coffee and a catch-up with Lauren at the recently-opened Blackburn. There's a new wave of cafés opening up in Paris, such as Blackburn, Holybelly and Lockwood, which do excellent food, have excellent coffee and understand what good service consists of. And have excellent design. Blackburn is just the type of place I would have loved to frequent as a student: it's stylish, peaceful and the owners, Sofiane and Sarah, are so friendly and easy-going it's like going round to a friend's (super-swish) apartment.
To continue that conversation about good service in Paris...well, to be quite frank with you, good customer service is sparse in Paris. As a Brit, I know how to queue, and I will never understand the French who form the most confusing queues - basically they're just all trying to push to the front! In Paris it is not uncommon for someone, who is being paid to provide a service, to behave as if you are bothering them, such as French waiters. I can never adapt to it, it will never be charming for me, and I even see Parisian friends bothered by this poor service.
|Coffee, a fresh juice and this delicious plate, all for EUR 19.|
Expectations seem to be changing though. Parisians are travelling abroad, coming back to Paris and opening their own places, combining French charm with good service. I'm not saying that I want the Parisian bistros to disappear. I admire and respect history and tradition, but there is space in Paris to cater to everyone's needs given that it attracts around 27 million tourists per year. Some days I can handle bad service if it comes with excellent food : ) Most days however, I would like my coffee and eggs served with sides of smile and friendly chit-chat.
So go in and say hello to Sofiane and Sarah, they'll be more than happy to have a chat whilst you sample their delicious coffee.