Cafés have been a popular meeting place in France for centuries. For instance, writers and artists gathered to share ideas and intellectuals gathered to discuss philosophy. Even more notable, were the gatherings of members of the French Resistance who would meet to plot their next moves. Today, visitors can see evidence of famous figures who have spent time in particular cafés, such as Picasso and Hemingway.
The classic French café includes indoor and outdoor seating with small round tables. Outdoor seating almost always faces the street, making it easy for visitors to soak up their surroundings and people watch. Visitors often purchase one cup of coffee but remain seated at the café for hours chatting, reading, writing or simply enjoying the environment.
In addition to ordering delicious French coffee, one can also order pastries and warm food for a light meal. In France it is common for cafés to be open and serving food from morning till night. It is important to remember that gratuity is included in the bill and to always call the waiter Monsieur, not garçon! One thing is certainly evident: a visit to a French café is a leisurely and pleasurable experience.