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Cafe manners and what is the real weather in Paris?

Cafe manners and what is the real weather in Paris?

Old May 14th, 2007, 11:13 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 58
Cafe manners and what is the real weather in Paris?

Hi, My questions about cafes/bistos are:
1)Do you seat yourself or do you wait for someone to seat you when you come to a place where there are empty tables outside?
In places where it is obvious that someone seats you how do you get their attention politely? Last time I was in Paris--quite a long time I'm sad to say-- I went to the Cafe Marly by the Louvre with a womean that I met on the plane from London and we stood at the entrance for 5-10 minutes and were totally ignored while the maitre'd was sitting the people who were coming up behind us.
2)Can anyone who is in Paris now give me an ideal on what the weather forcast is suppose to be like from this thursday on? I have looked at all the weather sites which say it is suppose to be rainy and in the 60's to low 70's but I have found from experience that alot of times the weather stations on the internet give you what the average is for that time of year and are not truly what it is like in the place you are researching . They will give you a forcast of rain every day with a temperature of 60 and when you get there you find out that every day its been sunny and in the 70's. Thanks!! 2 days and counting down.
nomadwoman is offline  
Old May 14th, 2007, 11:59 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Recently returned from Paris, & the
following is what I used to track weather for up to 7 days (and it was
spot on):


Re cafes: There are usually busy and/or
short-staffed IMO so one should wait to be seated altho I had no problems...Just indicate after saying Bonjour where you would like to sit.
If all else fails, seat yourselves.
I am sure you will be fine if you
always greet any service folks w/a smile and a Bonjour.
Rhea58 is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 12:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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For most ordinary cafes (without a host or hostess in regular attendance on the patio), you can seat yourself. At more upscale restaurants with terrace seating (where it is likely that tables have been reserved - that might have been the case at Cafe Marly), you should wait for the host/hostess. To get his or her attention, it would be preferable to say "Bonjour (or Bonsoir if it's evening) Madame (or Monsieur)". It's considered more polite to address the person with a title, and not just bonjour. "S'il vous plait", when you're being ignored is also a reasonably good attention getter.

Outside my window, the sky is bright blue. Of course, yesterday morning it was bright blue, too, and by the end of the day when I left work it was raining.

You should pack with the expectation that the temperatures will range from about 14-18C on some days and from 18C-25C on others. My usual rule of thumb is to pack an umbrella on any day when it's not bright blue sky on both sides of my apartment. I find that, in Paris, the weather can change rapidly during the day. The bad news is that there is often a little rain. (I've learned to interpret "20% chance of rain" as meaning not a 20% chance that it will rain in Paris but 100% chance that it will rain for 20% of the day ...) The good news is that it almost never lasts for more than an hour, and frequently for only half an hour.

Kate_W is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 01:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Since I posted my first message (the time it took to get dressed and walk 15 minutes to my office), the blue sky has disappeared and been replaced by hazy cloud. I'm sure it will rain by the end of the day.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 02:25 AM
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We have had some rain every day for the past 4 or 5 days, and the morning TV weather said that "winter is coming back".
kerouac is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 03:17 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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In my experience (having a French wife probably helps!), the protocol for cafes and bistros is, sit first, ask questions later.

If there's an empty table, it means it's free and first come, first served. If it has been reserved (and there's no little sign saying reservee), when you sit down, the maitre d' will instantaneously be aware of you and find you somewhere else to sit. It's a little sneaky, but it works.

Have a great time!
Jay_G is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 04:08 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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nomadwoman, while the weather is much cooler than last month, I was very comfortable this morning having a café and croissant on the terrace of a café, wearing pants and a leather jacket with a light top underneath. Hope that helps.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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I've never asked to be seated at a cafe, although you would for some real upscale one that was sort of closed off from the street (e.g., Closeries des Lilas is like that). I don't usually go to places like that, though.

The problem the OP had was going to Cafe Marly, obviously. That isn't your typical cafe where you just plop down, and if you go to expensive, snooty places like that, you may be ignored in favor of others or people that are more appealing to the waiter in some way. But that event can't be generalized to average cafes in Paris, most of whom don't have people around to seat you, anyway. Also, it may differ for the interior of some cafes where it may be more like a restaurant, than the exterior open-air part.
Christina is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 12:33 PM
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I agree that Café Marly is a café in name only.
kerouac is offline  
Old May 15th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 58
Hi, Thanks everyone for your great advice.It has been very helpful in figuring out what to pack.Jay G I got a chuckle from your advice to sit down and if the table is not available the maitre d' will come running over and voila you now have his attention. How clever. Christina the only reason that I was at Cafe Marly was that I arrived in Paris on a Sunday afternoon, wanted to go to the Louve and was starving and we just happened across this cafe. I am not too into food.I like fairly simple foods and not in great quantity. Also I am concerned at how expensive things seem to be since the USD is so weak against the Euro but I've put off going here for too long because of the euro so I'm going to bite the bullet and just not worry about it. Thanks again for everyones great advice.
nomadwoman is offline  
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