I know of a place, a writer’s paradise place, whose 1 Euro coffees and endless Wi-Fi sessions make a mockery of Starbucks’ shoddy cartel. I have spent many an afternoon there, sipping and thinking away the day, without urgency, and more importantly without questioning stares. I felt at home there, as much at home as anybody can possibly feel in an often hostile Paris.

 

The Pères populaires is a cafe of Abraham Lincoln’s own heart, that is to say, of the people, by the people, and for the people.

 

From a purely cinematic viewpoint let me give you a flavour of the place:

 

The migrations are what set Pères Populaires apart, as I sat there watching the morning coffee addicts give way to the brunch business crew, who themselves were replaced by the lingering luncheon posy, and then of course the afternoon writers whose concentration would be tested by the after-work beer mob; and then finally the dinner squad who would drink and eat into the early morning. I was the last man standing – I could not sit of course as I was jacked up on coffee – but I appreciated everything I had witnessed and consumed throughout the day.

 

 

Naniso Tswai
I have travelled afar and aplenty but never before have I met a city such as Paris. In fact, “that Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me” (Woody Allen: Midnight in Paris). This powerful quote both explains and encapsulates my relationship with Paris. Young, energetic and full of life, almost instantly her cuteness consumes you, coursing through your veins until all you desire is to never leave her embrace. But it is not all catwalk perfections, as despite her elegant demeanour, living here is an altogether different and gritty affair. For the tourist Paris dons her most beautiful frock and flirts an irresistible charm, but were you intent on becoming a permanent fixture, prepare yourself for her invariably coarse moods. She is obstinately and often infuriatingly French. She wears her French mantra, indeed breaths it as if though to do anything else would be an affront to her flag. Even when I ventured into her sprawling contours expecting her personality to become diluted, however I was both relieved and perplexed by the resoluteness of character. She is France at its most unyielding, arrogant and concentrated self, but damn, do I love to love her. I invite you to follow my own discoveries of Paris’s hidden corners and whispered beauties.

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