(tourist:) “Just coffee, thanks.”
(waiter:) “Then what do you think you are you doing, sitting at a table with a paper cloth?”
Intrepid travelers, there is a way to avoid this sort of tense cross-cultural exchange and I don’t mean by burning your passport and staying home.
The answer may lie in this month’s Book Club selection: “Literary Cafes of Paris” by Miss Noel Riley Fitch.
Yes, logic would dictate that as we celebrate the world’s most popular opera, “La boheme,” we would recommend Henri Murger’s original novel, “Scenes de la Vie la boheme.” And, in fact, we do recommend it as an alternate choice. However, we rather thought that anybody that interested in the source material for the opera would have sought it out by now—we wanted to present something a bit out of left field (or the Left Bank, as the case may be).
“Literary Cafes of Paris” is a tour of the history laden cafes of this great city, section by section, and a guide to the manners and customs within. It also explains those all-important distinctions between a cafe, a brasserie, a restaurant, a bistro, and a cafe-tabac.
If you are thirsting for more (and who wouldn’t be with all this talk about cafes?), join us Monday, September 15th at Barnes & Noble Prestonwood Center, 5301 Beltline Rd., Dallas, TX at 1:00 pm to hear all about the original Cafe Society and to share your anecdotes.
We’d love to find out about the Parisian Cafes you have known, loved, or detested!
Join us from 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm on Monday, Sept. 15th at Barnes & Noble.
Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera