International Communiqué: Drive-thrus vs. Cafés

Faith Gates, Staff Writer

It always seemed so normal to go through a drive-thru to grab my food and keep going. It wasn’t till I started living in Paris I noticed there’s another way.

In Paris, the word drive-thru doesn’t even exist. There’s a café on every street – usually more than one – and at every one of them are people just sitting and eating.

Parisians take the time to enjoy their food and the company they’re with. It’s easy to spend a long time at a cafe in Paris; the waiters expect it and won’t bring you check for a long time unless you ask. Some Americans may consider this wasting time, but I have found it an enjoyable and relaxing way to eat.

This restful atmosphere makes eating more of a social thing in France, rather than something you grab and go. I know Americans do this too – going out to restaurants together to catch up – but grabbing a meal with friends is more common here. The French see eating more as an opportunity to socialize rather than just fueling the body before getting back to life as soon as possible.