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Jeannette Aug 14th, 2001 04:06 PM

How to get coffee and pastry together at breakfast?
We were in the south of France several years ago and we had difficulty getting our pastries and coffee served together in the morning. We felt odd going to a bar to order coffee and eating a pastry we brought from another store. We're going to Paris in September so I'm sure the variety and types of shops may be greater. But, is there a secret to this?

Puzzled Aug 14th, 2001 04:37 PM

Could you run this by me again, I think I'm missing something????

Christina Aug 14th, 2001 04:41 PM

I don't know, but I have the same problem as my favorite cafes simply do not serve very much pastry for breakfast, whereas there are several good bakeries nearby where I can buy what I want. The cafes I frequent only serve plain croissants, tartins maybe (bread and butter) or very fancy crepes maybe some American-oriented complete breakfasts, and omeletes. But no good pain au chocolat, almond croissants (my favorite), etc. I feel uncomfortable also pulling out food I've bought elsewhere and so I don't do it in case it's gauche, it seems so to me--I observe to see if anyone is doing this where I eat breakfast, but have never seen anyone doing it, they are just drinking coffee usually (the cafes I'm talking about are not in the main tourist areas, so clients are usually local residents). I would never pull out food I'd bought elsewhere to eat in a restaurant in the US above fastfood, so I don't in Paris even though I am not buying anything from them because they don't have what I want. Even though it's not what I want, sometimes I order a plain croissant as they do have that. I think there are some cafes that have better breakfast selections and you can search them out near where you will be, though, I just have my old favorites where I stay whcih I stick with. Also, some patisseries have a small sit down area where you can get coffee, so that's an option, but I've never seen one that really was as big or nice as a cafe. If you only want to eat and drink, look for them.

outasync Aug 14th, 2001 04:53 PM

Yes, finally! A thread for people like us with similar issues. <BR>I also experienced the same "oddness" when I enter a Paris pastry/bakery establishment and the coffee they serve, to my taste, leaves much to be desired. Normally, and I mean here in America, I can bring in my good 'ole Starbucks grande regular drip into most coffeehouses and not feel alienated - especially if I buy the fine pastries offered by that establishment. <BR>What do I do when in Paris?

Jeannette Aug 14th, 2001 05:42 PM

Hi, this is Jeannette again. In the small towns in Provence there were no cafes -- at least none open in the morning. We'd find a bakery and a bar for coffee. Cafes offer some hope in Paris but it sounds like we still won't be able to get great espresso and a chocolate croissant together! I'll wait for more suggestions. Thanks.

Barbara Aug 14th, 2001 05:55 PM

The problem is that the French rarely eat pastries for breakfast. Croissant is a variation on bread, and Pain au Chocolat is often something given to children. We wouldn't serve cheesecake for breakfast (tempting as that may be). "Petit Dejeuner Complet" is coffee and bread or croissant with butter and jam, and most cafes with serve that in the morning. I am afraid that is the best I can suggest. And it really is tacky to pull out a pastry from another shop and eat it at the cafe.

Eli Aug 15th, 2001 01:21 AM

Jeannette: finally, after having understood the problem you were trying to describe, I can put your mind to rest. Paris is a huge city - much more than your Provence towns. Meaning there are lots and lots of cafe's. You should be able to get in each one croissants, pain aux chocolad, together with your coffee (or a 'tartine': half a buttered bagette).

Liz Aug 15th, 2001 05:38 AM

Although we didn't try it, or notice anybody else doing it, Rick Steves says it IS OK to bring pastry from a bakery into a cafe to eat. Any Parisians out there to let us know?

forget-starbucks Aug 15th, 2001 05:59 AM

* <BR>Easy. To get coffee & pastry together @ breakfast, go to Italy. Italians like to eat a sweet in morning (brioche, cornetto) with their espresso or capuccino. Freshly made, mmmmmmm --- IMO, beats the heck outta Paris.

Peg Aug 15th, 2001 06:55 AM

I have, on several occasions, sat at an outside table, ordered a cup of coffee and enjoyed a pastry purchased at a bakery near by. I would not go into a restaurant serving food and bring my own, but those serving just beverages don't seem to mind. (P.S. Don't make a mess and clean up after yourself, just common courtesy)

Jeannette Aug 15th, 2001 07:10 AM

Liz, <BR> <BR>The last time we were in France, we asked a Frenchman if we could bring a pastry into a coffee bar. He said we should ask the owner of the coffee bar. Some owners will say OK and others will ask you not to. But, the whole thing sounded to awkward so we never asked and never tried it. <BR> <BR>Jeannette

Randall Smith Aug 15th, 2001 07:15 AM

Hello, <BR> <BR>The best thing is to rent your own apartment, make your own coffee and run down to the nearest patisserie or boulangerie and enjoy it in your own place. <BR> <BR>Ciao, <BR> <BR>Randall Smith

elaine Aug 15th, 2001 09:43 AM

Hi <BR>Some Salons de The (literal translation is "tea rooms" but they are an upscale version of an American coffee shop, sort of) open early in the morning--you can get pastry and coffee there. Some patisseries (pastry shops) also occasionally have tables where you can sit down and enjoy your pastry with coffee. You'll have to wander around and see what's open in your neighborhood and what the options are. <BR> <BR>Anyone here know what time <BR>Angelina's on Rue de Rivoli, and <BR>Laduree salons de the, open in the morning? <BR>Jeannette, those are two places that have great pastries (and hot chocolate) as well as coffee and, later in the day, more substantial food as well. Both are on the right bank (I don't know where you are staying) and they are more "destinations" (and a little pricey) rather than just being <BR>neighborhood drop-in places.

Topper Aug 15th, 2001 10:06 AM

Hey! You got your pastry in my coffee!! <BR> <BR>Hey! You got your coffee on my pastry!

Christina Aug 15th, 2001 10:29 AM

Well, all I can tell you is that I have been in many cafes in Paris and none of them served anything other than croissants or tartines, so I would not count on any cafe having pain au chocolat or raisin etc, although probably most will have plain croissants. I myself would not take advice from Rick Steves on this; he's not French nor a French cafe owner and he sometimes stays or eats in crummy joints. I also am not convinced that the reason is that no Parisians eat such stuff for breakfast -- as I said, I always stay in more residential areas and have visited many local boulangerie/patisseries in the morning in the quartiers where I've stayed and attended school, and there are tons of French people in there buying these items, so I presume they eat them. I think the word pastry may be a bit confusing in this, I'm not referring to pastry like cakes, but the almond croissants, pain au chocolat, etc.

elena Aug 15th, 2001 11:59 AM

On our recent trip to Frejus, France we noticed locals (few tourists there when we were) eating bakery goods and ordering coffee from the bar - sitting outside. So, we did the same. However, there was another bar across the street that served bread, so when we ate breakfast there, we did not bring our own baked goods. <BR> <BR>In Paris, we found a terrific bakery that also served very good coffee - on Rue Cler. They had a small sitting area inside as well as outside.

Art Aug 15th, 2001 12:00 PM

Hi Jeannette, One of the joys I had in Paris (as many of you know Paris is low on my list of favorate cities) was the fresh baked croissants with fresh creamery butter and coffee. They were as good as any pastry esp in the morning and available in any local coffee shop. <BR>Regards <BR>

Ursula Aug 15th, 2001 12:09 PM

Art: I see you are getting excited about your upcoming trip! <BR>.. and, did you notice that in France, the French do *not* put butter on the butter croissants, just jam. However, they do put butter and jam on plain bread (tartines). Again, a lot of Europeans do care a about their food. A nice butter croissant is already a very fat matter. Did you ever notice that? Never mind, I love it as well.. from time to time.

Ann Aug 15th, 2001 12:21 PM

Our local boulangerie/patisserie always asked if we wanted croissants ordinaires or croissants beurres. In fact I prefer the "ordinaires" because they are less rich.

clairoobscur Aug 15th, 2001 12:22 PM

I live in Paris, and having the same problem, I usually bring my pastry in the cafe and order my coffee, chocolate,etc.. (and don't ask the owner). I'm not sure if it's tacky, and I seldom see someone else doing the same. Nevertheless, no cafe owner ever made a comment, and I do that pretty often, either for the breakfast or during the afternoon. <BR> <BR>However, I wouldn't bring something else than a pastry, like a salad or a sandwich, since they serve this kind of food.

Jeannette Aug 16th, 2001 10:50 AM

Thank you for all your replies. I can tell that Christina and I are kindred souls by her insightful comments. I roared with laughter when I read Clair's reply. If Clair lives in Paris and can't solve this dilemma, then we'll all have to wait for a real French person to chime in. Thanks! <BR>Jeannette

cantsleep Aug 16th, 2001 08:53 PM

Topping. <BR>Although my trip to France (4th time) September 2002, please help us find a solution to this dilemma. I'm stressed and can't sleep over this!

tracy Aug 17th, 2001 09:29 AM

Salut Jeannette - <BR> <BR>Look out for the petit déjeuner complet on menus posted outside bars. See if people are munching tartines . . . <BR> <BR>Rick Steves is totally wrong on this one. Most bars open in the morning offer a fresh-pressed juice (usually orange), your choice of a hot drink, and either a croissant or tartine. <BR> <BR>And: please tear your croissant - don't attempt to cut it into a croissandwich, don't shove the whole thing into your mouth! <BR> <BR>If French people do have a pastry for breakfast, they have just one. Not the 4 in a row I once saw a fellow North American scarfing down - hey, save yourself for a huge lunch! <BR> <BR>BTW my fave place for Parisian "petit déj" is the Bonaparte, right across from St-Germain des Près . . . they even have petit déjeuner anglaise, with runny fried eggs. <BR> <BR>HTH, no stress, and have fun!

francophile Aug 17th, 2001 10:11 AM

I really don't get these posts from people who travel and want it to be just like home. Why travel? Isn't it to experience another culture? That means not just what you eat, but how, where and when. Two last words (cliches): When in Rome and Vive La France.

Euro Aug 17th, 2001 02:19 PM

I do not understand you AMERICANS, you always have to have it your way. If you want things to be as in the US, or you want to pretend you are at home, why do not stay there, why travel to other countries that have others costumes to ask if you can have breakfast the way you have it at home. <BR>It is not common for people here to have huge amounts of pastries in the morning, deal with it! <BR>Do not go to a bar or cafe and bring pastries from other places, that denotes that if you do not have it your way you are willing to force people and restaurants owners to change the way they do business just for you. <BR>Always have to be number one, always have to AMERICANIZED everything!

Jeeze Aug 17th, 2001 02:28 PM

Guess what? It's not common for people in the US to have huge amounts of pastries in the morning, either. Where do you get your ideas? The poor poster just wanted a cup of coffee and one lousy pastry. She wasn't trying to invade the world or anything.

observer Aug 17th, 2001 09:36 PM

This is what makes a great thread - a heated discussion over coffe and pastry. <BR>Hey Euro, the last post is questioning your politicization of having BOTH coffee and pastries. Any thoughts or counter-accusation? <BR>Topping this anyway - for more tips on how to achieve the utopian harmony of coffee and pastry. <BR>I love this thread (and Jeannette for starting it).

Shanna Aug 18th, 2001 04:04 PM

Oh, you guys make me fall down laughing. I have visions of folks sneaking bags into cafes, turning their faces to the wall, surreptitiously pulling out some divine pastry and shoving the whole thing in their mouths, then wide-eyed trying to mumble to the owner, "no, we didn't bring any pastries in" all the while the crumbs on their faces and shirt fronts tell the true tale. The bread in Paris is so good, who really needs pastries? But, we did one morning want both and I sent Michael to the bakery for a couple really good pastries then we ordered coffee at a counter. No one looked at us twice. In fact, no one looked at us. Europeans, please don't be mad at us; we try very hard not to offend, but we can't possibly know the customs for every place we visit. Hey, here in the States, the South is different from New England. What's with those grits, anyway? This is a funny thead - keep it going.

dave Aug 18th, 2001 06:05 PM

The political angst in response to Jeannette’s post seems like sour grapes. First, though, nothing is more important than a great pastry with your café crème in the morning. Surely, the French are bringing those pastries home or to work where I bet they have espresso machines to complete the perfection. I can only guess why it is so hard (impossible?) to bridge this gap overseas. I bet it has to do with European provincialism. <BR> <BR>When I traveled to Europe on business in the early 80’s I was introduced to espresso and cappuccino. I couldn’t believe the numbers of bars on every block selling the stuff. So sophisticated, I thought. Viva la Europeans. I fell in love with espresso and came home and bought a pump-driven machine and never had café Americain again. Soon after, the founder of Starbucks (originally from Peet’s, I think) discovered the same thing and the rest is history. <BR> <BR>Well, not all of the history was made that day. Adaptable Americans love delicious French pastries and brought them right into Starbucks--no need to ask the owner. At first coffee stores only sold pitiful bagels and muffins. But American business learns. Now go into any Starbucks, Peets, or Coffee Bean and you can buy your chocolate croissant right there. <BR> <BR>But Europeans can learn when it suits them. In Laguna Beach a transplanted Frenchman, Jean Paul, runs the most famous coffee shop there. What delicious apricot tarts and other wonders. Guess what else he serves? Delicious European style coffees. French though he is--don’t order the coffees wrong or you’ll get a dirty look--Jean Paul knows what side his croissant is buttered on. <BR>

LL Aug 18th, 2001 08:01 PM

Anybody remember the French restaurant scene from "European Vacation"? That will happen to you if you bring pastries into a bar.

Magnolia Aug 18th, 2001 08:57 PM

Shanna, I was born and raised in the South (Virginia), and never once did I carry grits into a coffee shop :-)

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