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How do you spot a "tourist cafe" in Paris?

How do you spot a "tourist cafe" in Paris?

Dec 20th, 2004, 08:41 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 26
just because an owner does some good marketing by having the menu in multiple languages doesn't mean its touristy, pricey or expensive. that is complete nonsense. if its touristy or whatever you will know it by looking inside.
jfaul4820 is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 09:15 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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It has an American Express card decal on its door.

On the other hand, if the money is being handled by an overweight woman standing behind the bar and addressed by all as "Maman," you may have hit the jackpot.
USNR is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 09:29 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,427
It's pretty obvious, they are full of tourists. YOu really can tell, people who don't speak French, have cameras around their neck, have guidebooks on the table, etc. Of course places right near some big tourist attraction would fall in that category, and I guess if it said "tourist menu."

However, just having a menu in some languages other than French is not a sign of one and I really disagree with Mr. Vandelay's advice that any restaurant that does that should be avoided like the Plague. Lots of restaurants do that, and many good ones. Also, if something is full of tourists or not, doesn't make any difference if you want a drink and it's convenient. It doesn't really matter for drinks, for example.
Christina is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 09:46 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I guess the first clue would be location. If the cafe is located within a stone's throw of a major tourist attraction, then the cafe will probably have its share of tourists as well. Some cafes can be popular with both tourists and locals.
We tend to spend most of our time in the 16th, which is generally one of the less touristy parts of Paris. Our favorite cafes there (like Scossa) would not fall into anyone's definition of a tourist trap. BUT that doesn't mean you won't hear plenty of English spoken there--the 16th has a good share of anglophone expats.
In Brussels, where we lived until this month, most of the cafes around the Grand'Place are touristy. Go farther out to the more residential areas of the city, the Woluwes, for example, and you'll find mostly locals. But plenty of those locals will be Brits or Americans or Canadians (or Italians for that matter) who live in the neighborhood.
BTilke is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 09:56 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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At any rate, don't stress about it. If you're enjoying yourselves, who cares whether the cafe is a local's secret or #1 on the tourist trap list? You can have a great time at a touristy place or a lousy time at some local hangout. Just find a place that feels right to you.
BTilke is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 10:59 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Art Vandelay? Somebody has been watching "Seinfeld," by George!
USNR is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 11:35 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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I stringently followed the tip to avoid menus with English translations until late one winter night in Venice. We were looking for somewhere to have a dinner after a concert. The only place that we could find that would seat us after 10:30 was La Rivista.

We had walked by earlier, been intrigued by the decor, but passed it by because of the English menu. Now, we were just cold and hungry, so we gave it a try. It was by far the best meal we had in Venice- gourmet, local foods, excellently prepared, great service- the entire staff shook hands goodbye when we left and wished us a rousing Buon Anno! (Of course, we were the last table in the place and maybe they were just happy to finally close for the night!)

Sometimes, part of the charm of travel is serendipity. I usually travel with a list of restaurant recommendations, but some of my fondest memories are of the "discoveries" like this one. Our funniest stories often involve the "bad" choices, so it works out as memorable either way.
BlueSwimmer is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 12:19 PM
  #28  
 
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You know, there are many other tourists than Americans.
Gretchen is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 12:26 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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"On the other hand, if the money is being handled by an overweight woman standing behind the bar and addressed by all as "Maman," you may have hit the jackpot."

Now I'm really confused. According to the constant posting here, if the woman is overweight she must be American as we all know that's the only place that has "fat" people. So why would an American woman behind the bar indicate hitting a jackpot?

(If you can't tell, folks, this is known as sarcasm.)
Patrick is offline  

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