Inside or on the Terrasse

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Eating on the Terrasse, Paris

Eating on the Terrasse, Paris

A warm evening in Paris. The air is filled with the sounds of conversation, the subtle ringing of glasses, and the clatter of dishes.

As you walk by another restaurant the hostess tries to get your attention and a cook calls for a waiter. The smells are enticing. The menu looks promising, but also produces anxiety. The language is still a challenge.

Walking along the busy narrow streets you pass many restaurants. Each one presents itself along the sidewalk. A colorful awning and crisp white tablecloths. A neatly lettered menu board and a warm greeting in French and maybe also English. The busiest places don’t need someone on the sidewalk to call you in, you have to wait to be noticed and seated.

The first decision is whether to eat inside or on the terrasse. Eating outside on a warm evening is pleasant and provides  people watching entertainment and the street musicians are close at hand to serenade. But you are also on display and you are a ready audience for street vendors. It is also the smoking section. But perhaps that has changed with new laws.

You make your choices and hopefully get what you thought you were asking for, but regardless it is reliably tasty. After a long dinner, coffee and dessert you are ready to walk on. Now you are free to ignore the invitations of the restaurants that you pass. You are just looking now but perhaps planning for tomorrow night.

The neighborhood in this photograph is on Rue Saint-Séverin near Boulevard Saint-Michel. There are many restaurants, perhaps too many. It takes on a carnival atmosphere on a busy summer night as crowds stroll along past the pleas of the restaurant hosts and tourist shop owners. But it is located very near the river so it is central for walking most of downtown Paris.

There are more photos of Paris in my France gallery. Follow the Photography link above.

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