My Guide to Paris

Travel Ritual #1: Early Mornings in Coffeeshops


It’s hard for me not to romanticize this ritual, because it’s one of the simple things in life that I enjoy the most. Especially while living in Paris; a city, I find most charming on weekend mornings, when the parisians (who make any other morning of the week feel stressful on the metro and elsewhere) are still in bed, and the only people in the streets are trash men, street sweepers and a couple of walk-of-shamers. When I was living in Rue Saint-Jacques in the city centre of the left bank, I would often pass by the Notre Dame in the morning, just to see and cherish it in all its glory, without the crowds and cameras and noise.

Nevertheless, on any given morning I would rise early and go to a coffeeshop. I loved that I was (almost) alone in the city: it reminded me of the danish children’s book “Palle alene i verden” (“Palle alone in the world”) where this little boy wakes up and finds that he has the whole world all to himself.

I could walk in and choose freely amongst the café tables, sit down and enjoy my cuppa in peace and quiet – ideally by a window, from where I could watch the city wake up. By then, of course, I had already finished an article, put together one or two pitches and/or edited a handful of photos. I’m no longer the same “dawn raider” I used to be, but when I travel, I always take the time for my early morning coffeeshop ritual. No matter how busy I am and if I’m only in town for two days and have two articles to collect material for. I always-always-always take the time to just sit back with my MacBook and a cup of coffee: in viennese coffeehouses, surrounded by older men with their newspapers, in specialty coffeeshops with Father John Misty playing through the speakers. I just love it. In fact, now that winter is finally over (and it’s no longer dark till 8am) I’ll definitely get back into the habit of rising early!

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My Guide to Paris