OUTDOOR DINING – PARISIAN CAFES

Did you know that the word ‘café’ is the name of a tiny cup of strong, black coffee – often called an espresso (un express) but also known as café noir, un petit noir, and un café simple. Did you also know that French Cafés are the ultimate in outdoor dining experiences?

Besides fashion and the Eiffel Tower, the French are also famous for their exceptional outdoor dining experiences. Nothing quite beats the pretty little tables and chairs organised on a street-front, coupled with the tantalising smell of coffee and pastries. We have our very own bistro sets to help you create a Parisian feel to your outdoor space; but before we get to that, we thought we’d enlighten you with some French café information and etiquette.

Outdoor Dining

The French love their coffee and pastries. In fact, it’s quite often you’ll find a croissant or day-old baguette dipped into a fresh café crème for breakfast. Breakfast is also the only meal of the day at which coffee is consumed with milk and food. Also, takeaway coffee is unheard of. If you’d like a quick coffee on the run, you’ll order one from the bar and drink it standing up. French cafés have different pricing for different seating, so ordering at the bar will save you money whilst you might pay a bit more at an indoor table, The most expensive is usually a terrace table where you get the full French outdoor dining experience.

French Café Etiquette

 If you’d like to enjoy a cuppa at a French café, all you need to do is find an open table and take a seat. However, if the terrace is full, you’ll need to tell a waiter the size of your party and they’ll keep the next available table open for you.

If you’re group is too large for a table, the last thing you want to do is start rearranging their furniture! It’s a commonplace custom in South Africa, but in France it is ‘just not done’. You can, instead, quietly and nicely inform your server of your needs and they will help you out where they can. In fact, French waiters/waitresses are known as some of the best in the world. So rely on them to do the job they are so good at – this includes not getting up to go order at the bar if you’re impatient. The cafes are busy and your server will be with you as soon as they are free.

French cafes have an interesting dining system. There are tables with cutlery and those without. Choosing a table without cutlery implies you simply want a drink, whilst choosing a table with cutlery means you will be having a meal.

Here are two French-style cafes in South Africa:

Café du Cap
Situated on Loop Street in the ever beautiful Cape Town. Nestled at the entrance to Cartel House, this is a quaint little café perfect for a drink or meal.

French Fusion Café
Found in leafy Morningside in Durban. With a Parisian street-styled feel, this spot offers visitors a taste of authentic French cooking.

If you’d like to create your very own French café, take a look at our stylish bistro sets. Perfect for setting up on your patio/terrace where you can enjoy a chic cup of coffee and some croissants.