Take note, SF
I have endured decades of habitation at what can only be known as the most oversaturated tech capital of the world where, repeat after me, “There’s an app for that” is the mantra. As a result, my coffee shop experience skews heavily towards scenes of handle-bar mustachioed hipsters concocting fancy brews, Instagrammers taking portraits utilizing great cafe lighting, and start-up folks furiously typing away at a Macbook.
Ah, but my dear fellow San Franciscans— the French had it right all along.
Damn the lack of seating, hurried and awkward conversations, and clickety-clacks of laptops checking in for free wi-fi. And that’s coming from someone who often plays her own rendition of the "guess-that-wi-fi-password" game at every passing shop while she’s abroad. If the Parisians have mastered the art of the breezy slow-paced cafe vibes, surely we can follow suit, no?
Hit Pause On This moment
And flashback then, to the most lighthearted and carefree four hours I have ever spent in a cramped establishment. Boot Café in le Marais is no ordinary spot - it is by no means the place for you to stare at your laptop for hours on end or shoot side glares at people. No, this small stall is for people who take good coffee, as well as its subsequent conversations that it can spark, seriously enough that they're willing to bump elbows with those who dare sit in here. So take a chance, if you will.
My memory of Boot Café was choc full of moments and stories that were so grand that I furiously snapped away with my camera despite hardly having enough to photograph in such a tight space. Who knew that the heart of Paris could be found in colorful stools, a few lattes, and magazines strewn about the floor?
Amongst this ragtag bunch of strangers were: a comic book cartoonist, a tour guide that led safaris for tour groups in Kenya, a writer, an Australian actor who takes on various barista gigs in new cities for months at a time and because of this, has lived in more cities than I could ever dream of even traveling to (as you can imagine, he was our barista), a designer, and myself. Alongside five strangers, we sat there excitedly discussing life, where we came from, where we intended on going, and most importantly, what brought us to Paris.
There are few conversations where I walk away feeling the need to document everything verbatim onto anything I can get my hands onto; I scribbled incoherent notes of important details and hilarious facts into a tiny travel journal, desperately grasping into my memory to recall and record every last detail while riding home on the metro.
"Great things come in small packages" has never been so damn fitting.