Monday, November 27, 2006

Paris Starbucks

Why do you think a Parisian would go to a Starbucks in Paris when you can find cafés pratically on every corner?! Well, first of all it's smoke free, second the coffee is good (although outrageouly expensive!) and third because it's quiet and cosy. The perfect place for an interview! And that is precisely what happened on Friday when Richard Nahem, who started eyepreferparis, an insider guide to Paris some months ago, interviewed me about PDP. Richard describes himself as the guy everyone would call to know what to do when in NYC. He now wants to be the same guy in Paris! Best of luck and thank you for the interview Richard.


  1. Boy, Eric, you sure like to stir up trouble with this Starbuck's post. You seem so innocent but you know exactly what you are doing don't you? I can just imagine what diatribe "Starbuck's" will bring forth with everyone!

    It's funny (odd, coincidental), because I am on my way to Starbuck's right now but I always take it to go. But I did once meet a client at a Starbuck's and make a sale there.

    So, what's next? You've covered the homeless, the ills of smoking, American politics, rating of all the countries healthcare, censorship, etc. What will be next....the middle east problem? ;P

  2. LOL Susan. The middle east... That's an idea!

  3. Richard describes himself as the guy everyone would call to know what to do when in NYC. He now wants to be the same guy in Paris!

    Excuse me but I am not sure the guy is on the right track: to choose Starbuck for an interview with our parisiano-parisian Eric is definitely not a good start!...

  4. Actually i have often chosen Starbuck's to meet people to interview! Sorry everyone but it's quiet - ish, coffee's good. Yes, Eric, agreed stupidly expensive but it's the right atmosphere. But that's me. In the UK. In Paris, you must be surrounded by myriad beautiful french cafes so; no excuse, he should def. have chosen one of those for such a Parisian as yourself. Anyway, great interview. Strange, but that snow shot Eric is also my favourite! I love the Warhol-like quality of the shot. What's in the tins or are they mugs?

  5. Eric, Mozart in Paris, but Vivaldi in Venice.

    You have my permission to go there!
    Mais il n'y a pas beaucoup de pelouses à Venise.

    Your interview was great and M. Nahem's article about you also. Thank you encore.

  6. Maybe Eric chose it....he hates smoke.

    Just got back from Starbuck's drive-thru (through) and they forgot the vanilla in my grande latte! So, I drove back through and they corrected it and gave me a coupon for a FREE drink next time I nice! Totally not necessary but welcomed just the same!

    I always hated coffee. I never understood why my parents drank it every morning and everyone drank it at work. I thought it tasted bitter and just plain yucky! Then came Starbuck's. They taught Americans how good coffee can be (no doubt from their experiences traveling the world).

    I remember that the first Starbuck's that opened were organized to TEACH american's why their coffee was superior to the bitter swill we were used to. They did that by displaying coffee beans in their different states (raw (greenish if I remember correctly), american roast (light brown), french roast (darker brown), and their roast (deep brown)). They also had literature that explained that allowing the beans to ripen longer on the vine took care of the bitterness problem.

    So, now, I have another addiction. Is that good or bad?

    If anyone is looking for a good quality espresso maker and doesn't want to spend and "arm and a leg" I recommend the Breville, an all metal quality product from Australia! Because, you know, when you think coffee, you think Australia! LOL...seriously though, the best for the money! It is what I have but as I am out of milk, I went to starbuck's instead.

  7. I guess these are the cups ??
    I saw the cups with "shanghai" characters in shanghai's Starbucks. And its very popular to interview people there too here. And its really cosy, but i do not like coffee very could make me awake.
    And so fun to meet "blog" people!!
    nice shot!!


  8. Hey, I'll trade you a San Francisco Starbucks cup for a Paris Starbucks cup! ;)

    About Starbucks: many people here in the Bay Area constantly criticize Starbucks and even boycott their shops, yet Starbucks was listed as one of the best companies to work for not long ago (in terms of benefits, flex time, etc.) I grab my coffee there every morning, not because it tastes especially good, but because it's conveniently located near work and I can't imagine going in to work without my coffee! ;) And I noticed that they have very little employee turnover, so they must be doing something right.

  9. By the way, Starbucks also have a very nice music selection, for some reason, and I have bought a number of CD's at Starbucks, including Madeleine Peyroux, Amos Lee and I forget who else ... and the decor is nice. They need to work a little bit on the quality of their pastries, I think, but that's a different story.

  10. Like the mugs very much. How come you didn't mention St. Paul as one of the cities you'd love to visit--San Franciso, Amsterdam, et al can't hold a candle!!

  11. I think part of the reason Starbucks has succeeded, at least in the U.S., is because the employees have been force-trained to treat you nicely, in contrast to the way one is treated in many if not most independent coffee shops. Nevertheless, it's a disturbing trend to find so many Starbucks in France, and to see so many people walking with disposable cups of coffee rather than sitting calmly at a café.

  12. There it is! Thanks luggi for not disappointing me!

  13. And Luggi, "force trained"??? must not be American. Because "the customer is always right" is an AMERICAN trait....not just a Starbuck's one. I, for one, really appreciate being treated well as a customer. I treat my customer's very well as well. Nothing makes me want to never give repeat business as when the owners/employess act as if THEY are doing ME a favor by taking my money! And how hard is it to SMILE!!! Ever had a bad day and a stranger smiles at you or does something nice for you? Spread the friendliness around world!

  14. Luggi's profile say Los Angelos...that's why I said you must not be American.....left that part out previously....

  15. I remember a few years back (before I lived here) I was getting gas in Delta (it was much cheaper then), and I asked the attendant where the nearest Starbucks was…I got a completely blank stare, followed by a “what?” A Starbucks, I repeated, and I then received an “I don’t have a clue what you are talking about” look. The guy behind me laughed, and told me that the nearest Starbucks was in Grand Junction, 40 miles to the North. I was shocked, use to seeing them every couple of miles (so it seemed) in the Denver area where I lived at the time.

    Just out of curiosity, what does a Venti Non-Fat Vanilla Latte go for in Paris? In Grand Junction (Yes still nothing in Delta, we are too small) they go for about the same as 2 gallons of Gas :)

  16. It's really odd to chose a Starbucks café for a conversation about Paris and PDP.
    I like their coffee, but I agree that the price is a little high.
    Yesterday I enjoyed a Frapuccino... Perfect for our 30ºC spring days!

  17. Cups? I thought they were paint cans :)

  18. My wife and I have been collecting Starbucks City Mugs (paint cans?) for a few years but completely forgot to get one whilst in Paris last year. If any of you nice Parisians wanted to post me one, I'd gladly send the money (Eric, please forgive my pan-handling).

  19. Bill, the prices are about the same as the U.S. But...they don't use the same sizes we do (tall=small, grande=medium, venti=large). They use: short=small, tall=medium, grande=large....which makes more sense actually! I don't know why they don't just use "small, medium, and large" anyway. I guess they were trying to be avant garde.

    I am watching "Legally Blonde" on TV while perusing the photo blogs and internet in general...that movie cracks me up! And she is from my "neck of the woods" (as we say)....when I first saw her in Freeway I recognised (finally) a REAL southern accent! One exactly like mine...come to find out she is from Nashville (45 minutes from my hometown). And (coming back to the subject), my hometown just got a Starbucks about a year ago. They are moving into smaller markets now. Weird, but I just saw a movie Akeelah and the Bee and the beginning titles said "Starbuck's Entertainment"???? I thought, wow, they really are taking over the world....very

  20. i dont like their coffee, but it seems that in the US, it is the only real option for coffee if you just want to grab one and sit down for as long as you would like in a cafe....

    i can't wait to be in paris and have more options!

  21. Congratulations ... the privately owned coffee shop I frequent most often has a sign which says "friends don't let friends drink starbucks".

  22. All this talk of music and caffeine brings to mind J. S. Bach's "Coffee Cantata" - which in turn brings to mind the fact that, like Starbuck's, coffee was introduced to Europe from the Americas (not that I'm suggesting it's an improvement on what the locals have to offer). Bach wrote his satirical cantata in response to the anxiety provoked in conservative folk following the rapid rise in the popularity of this - at the time - new beverage. Indeed, it was considered somewhat unpatriotic to drink more coffee than beer, which is why the former didn't became part of the average German pantry until the late eighteenth century.

    As for the photo, I like it, mainly because it says a lot about the way companies like Starbucks always try to paper over their cookie-cutter approach to products and services with a touch of indigenous "colour". Also, looking that the lettering, I'm left in much the same state as when I drink to much coffee myself - dying for a pee.

    (Apologies to all lovers of mass-produced pick-me-ups and haters of puns.)

  23. I have a keen interest in this subject. It has nothing to do with Starbucks in Paris necessarily, but in why they are so successful.

    There is a recent (2005) management book out entitled Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. The authors describe phenomena like Starbucks that leave the old approach, price & quality, "on the shelf" shall we say, for what people perceive as an added value (smokeless, comfortable, customised...).

    There are only so many things the former coffee sellers could sell:

    Price per gram of coffee (not so different from plantation to plantation)

    Quality of the bean (Kenya, Arabic, Colombian, but in reality the customer doesn't care too much)

    Then there's the differentiators....

    Where does one DRINK coffee? (Either in a smokey café, an expensive hotel, at home, etc.)

    You'll have to read the book if you're interested in the detail, or if you are wanting to differentiating your product or service. I found it very interesting, even if it is common sense.

  24. Well! I've totally had my eyes closed to these city mugs. They look great. I can see why people might collect them. I must go to see if there's a Cheltenham one. You know, i reckon it would be a great promotional thing if Starbucks would send all City Daily Photo members a free Paris mug, don't you? Being in the home city of our founder, Eric, of course. What about it Starbucks?

  25. Good morning. Ooooh's the end of the world!!!! Run for your life!

  26. I always thought people picketed starbucks not because of their management or staff but the way they treated the people who grow their coffee beans. They are changing their attitudes now but I do find the high-street approach to coffee shops a little nauseating after a while. It would be a shame to lose the character of local run establishments.

    It does taste a little like coffee-flavoured milkshake sometimes, but you can't knock the fact that Starbucks' success is a cultural phenomenon too

  27. Michael, I saw you post to me on NYC and responded there. Were we talking about two different things? I am wondering what you thought I meant...come must tell me! I think it was more interesting that what I was saying.

    Anon: I'm pretty sure Starbuck's doesn't own coffee plantations in Africa, Costa Rica, Columbia, Indonesia, etc. (the places where they buy the beans).

    A question to Bold: Were you equally horrified when you saw Japanese restaurants in Paris?

  28. I frequent the many Starbucks here in Lexington. They each have their own ambience. The best one for me locationwise is the one I don't like. Why? It is a meeting place for young matrons. They bring all, and I mean all, their kids and let them run wild while they chat about detergents, etc. The kids have a glorious time but run me out with the noise. I detest coffee in paper cups so I cart my own cup, not mug, with me. I never have to do that in Paris.

  29. lol johnny aww controversial, controversial...well i'm a mummy with mine all grown up now and i too detest unruly behaviour in children and kiddy noise when i want to be peaceful and when they were small, believe me, my views were the same then! Mine did not misbehave as they were told to respect other people when we were out. On odd occasions when this went awry - and there were some ! - i took them home straightaway so they missed the treat. No fuss, little admonishment, no shouting, just home. lol. So they learned.
    The one thing i have to pick you up on though, on behalf of mothers everywhere, is your assumption that we talk about 'detergents etc'. Goodness, Johnny, I'm reeling at that! My friends and i, yes with children attached, would have long, intellectual discussions when we met. Our brains do not stultify simply because we have given birth! Stand back while the girls amongst us digest this... lol eek Johnny!

  30. Good coffee is good coffee. Bon ambiance est bon ambiance. (Belle ambiance?) When the coffee and the setting is good, it's great. Coffee on the go in a car isn't the best way to enjoy coffee. If I'm buying coffee, I prefer Caribou to Starbucks because the darker roasts always are richer and more flavorful. But, if you are after a sitting experience, a cafe is always better. It's what's important to you that mattters. I grind and brew my coffee. Why would I subject the world to me before I get my fix? That would just be cruel.

  31. Susan

    Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant they were being unscrupulous with the amounts of money they paid the farmers selling coffee beans. As I said before they seem to be changing that now. However, I'd still prefer to go to an independent for coffee...

  32. to further anon's comments go to:

  33. I will read it.

    Jeff: I like Caribou also (just a smaller version of Starbuck's). I still personally find Starbuck's quality to be a little better...but taste is personal and subjective and that is just my humble opinion. I do think the decor of Caribou is much trendier...a cooler atmosphere. They are both good.

    I thought the Starbuck's bashing (read and feels American) would be worse than it was. I was pleasantly surprised. Although I have seen alot of bashing at other places about the "evil" Starbuck's in Paris by Parisians. As I implied earlier, no one bitches about the Japanese restaurants. And just because there is another competitor out there, it doesn't mean that 1,000 cafes are going to close! Be real! Geesh! I had to get that off my chest.

    I actually came here to share something great (since this seems to be the largest gathering site)! For those of us that don't have DP blogs (read: too lazy like me to commit to posting daily photos), there is a fantastic site that I found on someone's site that you must check out! Maybe you know about it already and I am slow to discover it but just in case, I will share. It makes it so much EASIER to view all the DP sites that you are interested in. It also makes it easier to remember which sites you asked a question on so that you can go back and read the answer (sometimes I forget where I was). This lists all the current photos of all blogs as thumbnails. I really like it. DailyPhotoBlogs. It is consise, organized and also shows whose blog has been most recently update (it sorts most recent to the top of the page). Thanks for creating it guys!

  34. Congrats Eric. This interview should be added to the news section of future CDP portal. It helps understand how the group originated and how it has been evolving into the big community it is right now. By the way, I am very proud to hear that Barcelona is one of the cities you would like to photograph or choose to live in. As to Starbucks, yes, expensive, quiet and comfortable. Maybe one thing leads to another, in both directions (I am considering the non smoking factor too). Regarding coffee I prefer old classic coffee bars, although they are not prepared for the fast rhythm of modern times.

  35. Okay Anonymous, I read it. I saw nothing "unscrupulous with the amounts of money they paid the farmers selling coffee beans." Nothing. In fact, Ethopian farmer wanted to "trademark some beans" unheard of practice!!! They wanted to do so, so that they could raise prices to the tune of $88 MILLION PER YEAR. RAISE PRICES HIGHER THAN WHAT OTHERS COFFEE GROWERS GET. The accusations are coming from a U.K. charitble organizatin that no doubt is trying to help a poor country like Ethopia. But in doing so, (and let's face it, a charity probably has no business acumen) will price them right out of the market! Thus, HURTING the country. If prices are raised....buyers will just buy more from their other suppliers all over the world.

  36. > Louis London a dit… : "coffee was introduced to Europe from the Americas"

    Interesting news to me. I've always been taught that coffee was introduced to Europe from middle-east (Persia, Egypt, Turkey), somewhere around 1600 and that it crossed North Atlantique a little less than a century later. Is it my mis-understanding of your post or on the contrary another example of the disinformation we suffer in France ?

  37. Well! This was a fascinating thread to read today. I just plain ole don't "get" coffee...give me a nice tall cool glass of southern sweet tea with lemon anytime! About every 4 or 5 years I retry foods or drinks I don't appreciate and often am happily surprised to find that my taste buds have changed, but that has never been the case with any kind of coffee, including Starbuck's and the famous New Orleans chicory bean coffee. I suspect you all might pity me...but am happy to pass up at least one addiction!

    Eric, as usual, a well composed and provocative photo! You do have a knack for getting people talking!

  38. Oh, and congratulations, Eric, for another interview. How long before we see him on the cover of "People" magazine? Let's hope he doesn't forget the little people...

    C'est bon, mon ami.

  39. >>give me a nice tall cool glass of southern sweet tea >>

    Please pass me a glass, Blondie! It's a new fave of mine since my new nabes are from SC and made it for me.

    I *never* go into Starbucks. We're lucky to have many excellent coffeehouses here with friendly employeesand excellent coffees. Luckily, there is one in walking distance of my home, Spoons Coffeehouse, *and* they have live acoustical music on Thursday nights and Friday afternoons *and* a knitting circle! I flash back to the 50s&60s coffeehouses when I'm there.

  40. Well first of all, I think the shot is wonderful and it qualifies for wallpaper for my computer at work..LOL!

    Tomate is correct though, there is great animosity in San Francisco against "Starbucks"...the reason is that San Francisco was a coffee town with it's own "Coffee Culture" way before Starbucks came to town! MJB, Hills Bros, and Peerless[to name a few]were all coffee roasteries in SF that went way back. I can remember many years ago waking in the middle of the night to use the toilet and smelling the roasting coffee creeping through the bathroom window. Now, due to the cost of industry doing business in the city many of the large roasteries have moved out to the suburbs.

    Starbucks[from Seattle, WA]invaded SF with their shops and would go into a neighborhood and open shop directly across from a small independent shop with the sole intention of stealing the business and driving the "little guy" out of business. There has always been a sort of rivalry between SF and Seattle and this only made tensions worse; eventually legislation was passed limiting neighborhood invasions by large chains or "big box stores"!

    Even though there is a Starbucks steps away from me I would rather walk two blocks to the small shop down the street, because quite simply..the coffee is better! Starbucks is known for roasting coffee and warehousing it....Yech!!! Often the Starbucks coffee seems to have an "undertaste" which is nothing like coffee..bizarre!

    A couple of small, local roasteries that SF Foodies swear by:

  41. A knitting circle?! Oh well, that swings it for me then, i'll be over right away! - only kidding, Ujima..

  42. How quickly people have forgotten the homeless man... I bet he'd take any ole cup of coffee.

  43. Luggi...the photo you posted is hilarious! I'm not trying to steal Eric's viewers (as if...) but when you get a chance, check out LA Daily Photo's pic.

    I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say it has it's finer points! You'll need a coffee after seeing THAT!

  44. Um, the "peni" yes! funny! That anon was me actually. I was embarrassed at first that I thought that but now that I see I wasn't alone....I can come out of the closet! Not too "unladylike" was it? Oh, that's my southern upbringing....

    And you are right plural...I see what you mean!

    And Luggi, you made a comment on someone's blog that made me laugh harder than anything I've read on any blog. I read it last night but it was posted a long time ago. It was about children. Remember that? Funny!

  45. Michael, That LA blog showed the equipment of the Jolly Green Giant.I am glad he is still living and on the rise. LOL Maybe a fistful of needles instead of a pocketful of miracles.

  46. Coffee, Michael? I need a STIFF one! er.. gin i mean.


  48. .. lol yes well, it was ...(cough)... rather entertaining, yes, it was. Think i need a lie down.

  49. gg: No, you are right - and I thank you for the correction - but it doesn't change the point I was trying to make. Africa, as far as I know, is not part of Europe (unless, of course, one regards European colonialism as "inclusive").

  50. If you can't see a Starbucks from where you are, just turn around...

  51. Great set of pics! My favourite is the penultimate one.

  52. eek that was meant for another site! How...? Goodness Michael you see what you've done to me?

  53. Living and on the rise? I'll say! ;)

    I wonder what Ms. Dewey would have to say about that.

  54. Et j'ajouterais cher Eric que tu fais preuve surtout d'un pro-americanisme sans bornes, voila la vraie raison qui te fait aller sans doute chez Starbucks, alors que ces cafes ne sont que le reflet d'une mediocre culture gobable qui a reussi a s'installer ici aussi.

    C'est comme si tout sur ce blog etait a destination directe de nos amis d'outre-atlantique. Les commentaires, ou bien souvent le choix des photos, ou les positionnements neutres systematiques.

    Personnellement, j'en suis plus que lasse. C'est comme si l'on se balladait dans une de ces affreuses agences de voyages pour touristes americains.

    A bientot peut-etre,


  55. Just imagine if that thing at Michael's link was adorning a Starbuck's. I mean, i wouldn't want that anywhere near MY muffin, would you?


    And I thought I was bad with my BATTERY comment! LOLOL! SHAME SHAME...I LOVE IT! And is "peni" really the correct term?

    If so, then I guess I don't live a "PENI-LESS" life do it?

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I have TEARS in my eyes...maybe from the thought of those little "prick-lies" getting anywhere NEAR me!

    Are the blog police monitoring this thread?


  57. AAAAAAAAARGH! I REALLY should proofread! I..I I I I I I I! Hate to sound illiterate, LOL! Carry on! ;-)

  58. Moi, ce que je regrette toujours c'est que la langue de Molière n'y a pas beaucoup de place...

  59. Ah, tiens, ça faisait longtemps ... Car tout le monde sait, bien entendu, qu'être pro-Americain dans certains milieux de l'Hexagone, c'est presque aussi mal vu qu'une maladie vénérienne!

    Tout sarcasme mis à apart, il y a sans doute une fraction de vérité dans le commentaire de Damien mais pourquoi le dire comme si c'était un reproche?

    Un blogueur n'est-il pas libre de décider ce qu'il a envie de dire, de choisir son audience et dans quelle langue il veut s'addresser?

    Ah, it had been a long time... Everybody knows, of course, that to be "pro-American" in France, certain circles is almost as bad as having STD!

    All sarcasm aside, there may be an element of truth in Damien's comment, but why say it like it's a bad thing?

    Isn't a blogger free to choose what he wants to talk about, to whom, and in what lanauge?

  60. The Blog Police Ame? Ahh! So what if they are, i say... with knobs on.

  61. Oh eric, your blog is the highlight of my day. Sometimes I like going 3 or 4 days without looking at it so I can have more pictures to look at when I finally get all my work done at the end of the week. It's like my little prize for working hard all week lol
    Your pictures are always so delightful!

  62. Damien, quel est le probleme que Eric soit pro-Americain ou pas?
    Ce n'est vraiment pas la la question. Ils nous montre Paris de son point-de-vue alors laisse le faire!
    Si vous voulez montrer au monde votre propre version de Paris, alors vous etes bien libre de le faire! Creez une blog a votre tour!
    Moi je suis nee en Angleterre mais je suis Africaine et j'suis Pro-Francais, est-ce un probleme?
    C'est ca qui est le plus grand probleme de nos jours, le fait que les hommes pensent qu'ils doivent rester 100% solidaire a leur pays de nationalite... oui c'est important mais il est aussi important de ne pas s'enfermer dans une bulle! Il y'a d'autres pays et cultures a decouvrir! la vie est bien trop courte.

    Et puis laissez Eric vous dire lui meme de quel point de vue il prends ses photos, c'est quand-meme lui qui les prends ses photos, pas vous!

    Moi personellement, je pense que Eric prend les photos pour une audience internationale, pas seulement pour les Americains.

  63. J'ai oublier de dire que J'habite aux Etats Unis depuis quel-que annees maintenant et qu'il y'a beaucoup d'Americains qui adore la France et les Francais et il y'a d'autres qui ne sont pas folle d'eux (pour dire le moins)

    Alors il est bien evident que certaine personnes ne sortironts jamais de leurs bulles.. ceci est bien triste

  64. Wow, I did not know the Starbucks war would still be going on!

    Lynn, they're mugs, not tins. They should sell PDP mugs instead!!

    Yes Susan, I am the one who chose it, not Richard. So don't blame him!

    Jing, you're saying you don't like coffee because it keeps you awake or because you don't like the taste? I'm not sure.

    OK Tomate, send me your cup first!!

    Kate, my mistake. OF COURSE St Paul is one of the cities I'd like to visit! Just like the 150 cities of the DP family LOL!

    Luggi. Could you ask them to send a training squad to Paris? The guy (barrista, as they call him) was not extremely nice I have found.

    Bill, I don't know how much they charge for a Venti Non-Fat Vanilla Latte, but probably too much!

    Floski. OK, that will be my good deed for year 2006! Send me your address at eric at

    Jeff. LOL On the cover of People magazine! Together with Paris... Hilton?!

    Michael. LOL on Luggi's photo. Do pay him a visit people, it's, well, different!

    Rose_bleu. "Oh Eric, your blog is the highlight of my day." You're so sweet...

  65. Eric, I don't know who Richard is.

    Damien, your a jerk. What a pompous American-basher you are. What's your problem? You have such bad manners. You're just a self-righteous, naracistic ass and an example of why the French get a bad name. I wonder what would happen to the unemployment if all the nasty tourists stopped coming to France? We are a huge source of income and yet you treat us with disdain! Just like the rude owner I spoke of earlier that gives bad service, never smiles and acts is he is doing the customer a favor instead of the mutually beneficial relationship it is!

    Why can't you just like PEOPLE without having so much HATE!

    Ami: Peni? I made that up. I was being funny.

  66. And Rose: using the word "international" with the likes of "Damien" will do no good. He does not understand the word. He would rather Franch immitate North Korea and completely isolate itself from the world! No other products, no other languages, no other cultures!

  67. Ouch!! This is exactly why I sooooooo hate the words "anti-American" or "pro-American" or "French-bashing," etc... I just hate these words because they get everybody defensive (including me!)and they really don't mean a whole lot, if you think about it. How can anybody think 2 people are alike based on nationality alone? That is such a crazy concept.

    Susan: Richard is the guy who gave Eric the interview at Starbucks.

    By the way, Susan, I have a feeling that Damien knows quite a bit about "international" in fact, something tells me that he might be another French expat in the States, perhaps disappointed with the culture, the lifestyle or whatever. Or maybe the holiday season is getting to him, uh? Go figure.

  68. But they DO mean a lot Tomate. His words were hurtful to me.

    And he probably is someone in "hiding." No doubt doesn't even have the courage to be open...even thought the Internet is still not truly "out in the open."

    I have defended French people when I've heard French bashing going on. And then I go to France and saw first hand that SOME French people aren't very friendly towards non-French. But still, to this day, when someone recently said, "the French hate Americans," I defended France, even though I KNEW there was some truth to this. take that crap from him was just too much for me. I don't intend to say bad things about the French either, I am just being totally honest and open here.

    I try to judge individuals based on my experiences with them and not make sweeping judgements. So this kind of talk makes me really mad.

  69. Has anyone noticed that the most critical comments are always signed without a profile or as "anonymous". I don't mind reading people's points of view - whether I agree or not is not important - but be man/woman enough to sign a real name.

    I see 2 posts on this page that have anything to do with the U.S. Let the blog owner show what they want to's like television - if you don't like what's on, change the channel.

  70. Susan: Believe me, that kind of stuff is very difficult to discuss in these little windows, with no voice, eye contact and/or body language. Words alone can be so easily distorted ...

    You said so many things in your comment back to me that I would like to respond to but there is no way I can do it here. An entire evening and a good bottle of wine, face to face, might be a different story with a much different outcome! :)

    I understand that Damien's words hurt you, yet I don't think the purpose of his comment was to engage in "American bashing" believe it or not.

    Every time I go back to Paris, I notice, too, Paris seems to be following this sort of trend that makes it that every city in the world ressemble the next one because all the chains have implanted their little franchises there. Some people (maybe Damien, too) believe that a little more cultural "uniqueness" and less corporate culture was better.

    Like I said, we could argue all evening ... :-)

    "The French hate Americans" probably comes from the 50's (post WW2) when Gl. De Gaulle stood up to the US and said no thank you, we'll rebuild the country ourselves, or something like that. Is has nothing to do with you and me. I was shocked when I heard it the first time in the US because that is not at all the way I was brought up, and I had never noticed any display of French hating Americans!

    On the other hand, when I lived in Paris, I noticed a lot of people being nasty to each other over there, just because that's the way they seem to be.

    Living in California is very different. People smile, say hello, good morning, have a nice day, stuff like that (even if they don't mean a single word of it, at least they try to be polite to your face). Total strangers talk to each other in the bus about the weather (I've only seen that happen very rarely in the Metro). In Paris, people don't act like that at all, generally, so even if they're not being rude, you might think they are.

    I could go on and on and on about the cultural differences... but enough of my rambling for now. :)

  71. Yes please Susan, cool down ! ;o)
    I feel Damien's critics was not so "rude" and at least quite far from any american-bashing. Maybe he could done it personnaly to Eric and not publicised it. He called nobody "a jerk" though, did he ? By the way, we don't have a word for "bashing" in French, that might be one the big mis-understanding between us…

    And Michael, I don't have a profile, which doesn't mean I'm willing to stay anonymous. At least, to you, Eric, and a few others on PDP who know me. It's just that I'm a dinosaur not bothering as much as you guys about having my place on the web (don't misunderstand me, I'm not web-bashing here !!! ;o))

  72. Ok, Tomate, admettons que je n'ai rien dit. De toutes façons, je remarque que dès que quelqu'un a quelques reproches ou remarques à faire ici, il se fait "fusiller". Je suis d'accord, je ne suis pas obligée de venir ici. Ce blog n'est pas pour le français "moyen" qui ne parle pas (ou presque pas) la langue de Shakespeare, je m'en vais. Et excusez moi d'aimer mon pays et ma langue. (Ce qui ne veut pas dire que je déteste les étrangers) En parlant de langue, vous connaissez la bonne blague ?...Non, je ne vais pas la dire, je vais me faire "fusiller".
    (Merci quand même d'avoir pris la peine d'écrire en français) :)

  73. It is very early and I have awoken with a headache. So, not so rude huh? He said that American's are people with "poor culture." Maybe to you that is not rude but it is to me. No, rude is wrong. ARROGANT....that's the word. Damien has heard that before, non? I don't want to get into this anymore. At least not here. So now, I will share a song that is international in a way. A song that I love and speaks of divides. And longing for a bridge. It's called Transatlanticism

    the atlantic was born today and i'll tell you how:
    the clouds above opened up and let it out.

    I was standing on the surface of a perforated sphere
    when the water filled every hole.
    and thousands upon thousands made an ocean,
    making islands where no island should go.
    oh no.

    those people were overjoyed; they took to their boats.
    I thought it less like a lake and more like a moat.
    the rhythm of my footsteps crossing flood lands to your door have been silenced forever more.
    the distance is quite simply much too far for me to row
    it seems farther than ever before
    oh no.

    I need you so much closer

  74. Hi Susan (or Susan in Atlanta, i'm lost !!!) !

    Here's what Damien said : "ces cafes ne sont que le reflet d'une mediocre culture gobable". I understood that he qualified the "low cultural level carried by globalism" and not a supposedly "globally low cultural level of Americans". So to me, it has much less to do with "Americans" than with "globalism", considering Starbucks as a good example of the latter. As for myself, I consider Americans and globalism 2 different things. Thus I'm sure Damien aimed not at insulting people from the States.

  75. mll: C'est chouette que vous aimez votre pays et je l'adore aussi et j'suis anglaise. C'est simplement que la langue internationale, c'est la langue anglais. Nous n'avons pas le choisee (choisee? c'est le mot correct ou non? je m'excuse) mais c'est la vie. C'est plus facile je suppose pour la majorite a utilise la langue internationale. C'est tout, n'est-ce pas?

  76. gg: was it you? Are you he? Is Luggi he? I know he live in non-typical America (L.A.) and he has made similar commentaries. Anyway, America was pointed out, to be exact, "pro-Americanism."

    But let's get past this shall we? Can we stop talking about this?

    What I want to know, did anyone listen to the fabulous song link I left? I didn't love it until my second listen. I find it a very creative way to say what has been said a thousand times before in a thousand previous songs. I so respect anyone that is that creative (cause I'm not).

    Another great song, you may know....something about it is a little mesmerizing. Another Brit. And I just have to point out, I embrace British success here and don't worry that they will take over the country or that they will hurt American musicians. Hey, it's true and I just had to point it out. We can all live in this world without worrying that one has to LOSE (their culture, etc). We can all win! I do believe that. But I know, just like that article that Michael sent out last month, that attitude of mine is a product of my culture (multi-cultural and "win/win philosophy") so maybe I should try harder to understand a different view...while trying to make you see that you don't have to worry so much.

    Good Song

  77. Mais Lynn, j'adore aussi la langue anglaise. Si tu savais le temps que je passe à améliorer mon anglais. Mon mari et mes enfants se moquent (gentillement) de moi parce que je suis toujours (enfin souvent) à l'affût de tous ce qui est écrit en anglais. Et j'ai d'excellents souvenirs de séjours en UK, j'aimerais pouvoir passer la Manche plus souvent.
    Je sais aussi que c'est une langue internationale, mais, bon, un petit mot français de temps en temps dans un blog consacré à une ville de France, je trouve que ce serait bien. Mais je sais, ce n'est pas mon blog...
    En tous cas, thank you lynn, d'avoir aussi pris la peine d'écrire en français, ça fait toujours plaisir :)

  78. No no, "lui c'est lui, moi c'est moi !" as once said a forgetable french Prime Minister about President Mitterand ! I don't know Damien and usually sign my name ! ;o)

  79. I guess you don't like the song GG?

    Maybe this oldie but a goodie...British again...I do "like me some" British music!


  80. >>Damien, your a jerk. What a pompous American-basher you are. What's your problem? You have such bad manners. You're just a self-righteous, naracistic ass and an example of why the French get a bad name.>>

    Lovely manners shown by Susan :)

  81. I don't know if I like your song or not Susan. I'm at my office and have no opportunity to listen to it !

  82. Wow DO you do it? A simple interview in a coffee shop sparks all this debate. Some of it quite direct I must say.

    GG & Nasty know I wasn't referring to you, but point taken. I guess I'm referring to the odd name that pops up now and then just to say something real nasty.

    One thing I've learned to love in France, even if sometimes it hurts, is that a debate is a way to learn more about the other's point of view and not to be taken personally. I get tired of all of the debate shows on French television, but I can tell you that the debates are usually of a higher level than name calling.

    Let's try to learn from each other, not read too much into a blog's comment box, and keep things civil.

    Tomate is so right about the missing non-verbal cues...Research shows that non-verbal communication accounts for at least 90% of the message. SO Eric, we'll expect a version 2.0 of PDP that includes multiple video-cams toute suite!

  83. Well said Michael, it's possible to have an interesting debate without all falling out. Life's too short, surely. Now will someone share the Smarties out please... NICELY?

  84. mll: ah je vous en prie, mll, alors maintenant tout va bien, oui? J'adore la france, la langue et vous; vous aimez mon pays!
    Je voudriez dire que souvent les mots sont en francais ici, c'est une des choses que j'aime! Moi aussi, je veut ameliorer mon francais parce que c'est depuis longtemps j'ai l'utilisee. J'ai oubliee beacoup comme vous voyez! Alors, je pense (?)la regle ici est parler en anglais (langue internationale, seulement ca) pour le profit de la majorite, n'est-ce-pas. Les autres qui ne parlent pas en anglais, ils parlent en francais! Souvent, actuellement. Ca ne me derange pas - je l'aime bien - mais peut-etre c'est difficile pour les autres. Ainsi, nous avons une langue internationale. Voila.

  85. phew! I'm sure that's peppered with errors but there, i tried. I'm quite taxed now, i might just head over to that link you gave us, Michael, for a bit of ... a sit down. ouch. lol.

  86. I thought you were on my side Michael...from your earlier post.

    I have tried to get away from this but as I keep getting pulled back in. This is what he said:

    And I would add dear Eric that you show especially an pro-Americanism
    without (?), veiled the true reason which makes you undoubtedly go to Starbucks, whereas these coffees are only the reflection of a poor culture gobable which succeeded has to settle here too. It is as if all on this blog were direct destination of our friends of on the other side of the Atlantic has. Comments, or very often the choice of the photographs, or neutral positionings systematic. Personally, I am more than tired of it. It is as if one balladait oneself in one of these dreadful travel agencies for American tourists. So long perhaps, Damien

    He says it in French thinking that we Americans won't know about it. And I think it is mean. It definitely was not meant to "pull us all together." Mean not only to Eric, but to me as well. And it hurt my feelings. And it made me really mad. And I feel right to defend myself if some unknown person has the gall to be so condescending towards me and my countrymen.

  87. Firstly, I don't choose sides on a photo blog. I'm here to enjoy and learn as I'm sure you and many people are.

    I just don't think it's worth it to keep coming back to a nasty comment. There are many more other things and I'm sure Damien or whoever will not have a major impact on our lives.

    That's all I have left to say on the subject. Off to Brazil for business and bien sur, du café!

  88. Ok, the jerk comment was uncalled for. I should have said, "you comments are being condescending, hurtful, and arrogant." Euphamisms I suppose are important. My nature is direct and hot-blooded though.

  89. that's typed all wrong...but maybe it will be understood.

  90. Ahhh... the southern belle who's been wronged. Always the dangerous kind! (;-), LOL, *wink*, & j/k).

  91. Susan in Atlanta:

    There is a couple of things that literal translation didn't give you, it's the intent with which the comment was written, and what's really being said between the lines. We could speculate until tomorrow morning and still not know 100% what Damien meant (only Damien knows that for sure), but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a personal attack on American people, but rather, a personal attack on what he perceives to be Eric's political views and his disappointment with the way Eric runs his blog. It was Eric the comment was aiming at, not us.

    And I had a knee-jerk reaction in part because I know too well what it's like to say something on your blog and have people rip it apart because they don't like what they perceive to be your ideology or political values behind it(whether they're right or wrong is a different story). Enough said.

    By the way, another thing French people do is argue pretty er.. strongly (for lack of a better word) with each other, especially when it comes to politics. They chew each other's head off (figuratively speaking) while arguing, and then they part as if nothing happened. It's part of the culture (latin roots ;-); in California, I noticed that arguing with someone over ideas tends to be frowned upon and viewed much differently.

  92. Isn't it time that everyone stepped back from the fight to view from a distance what has really happened here? Defending one's country is a laudible thing, but seeing arguments between the lines is unwise. I can't see anything offensive in Eric's lines at all, which is the origin of all this and no sooner had he posted it, there was immediate expectation of confrontation in the first few comments! Don't look between the lines. In any case, it probably wasn't Eric's choice of venue but the interviewer's, for convenience. Who knows? Paris, like most cities, is cosmopolitan with all nationalities existing within. Can't we all get on?

  93. Wow! this little photo sure caused a fuss. Did anyone mention that they liked the snap. I love grids, rows, boxes, etc. I wonder what that means on a personality profile? This makes 97 comments. Have any of the photos before reached this proportion of comments? Michael and two are the greatest. I would rather miss breakfast than ParisDailyPhoto.

  94. Lynn, I think I've understood what you meant. Thank you again for your note which was not so...peppered (one more new word I've learnt today) with errors.
    I stop there. Je suis assez démoralisée en ce moment. Je dois faire une overdose d'anglais :)

  95. Hope to see you again, mll and thanks!

    Johnny lol i'd give up DINNER too i think ! lol at your comment about anyone mentioning the shot too. Made me laugh. I did, actually, for its (i think) Warhol-like quality. Very interesting. I think the only other one that i know of with high comment count is ... dare i? ok i'll whisper ... (the homeless one) Sshh! Eat this information once received.

  96. From Elizabeth's blog (for PDP's first year anniversary):
    "The community that Eric has assembled around his blog is extremely friendly - never harsh, critical, or competitive. What a refreshing place to spend a few minutes each day!"

    I wish we could all keep this image up, It would be nice to keep the harsh criticisms down and keep this a friendly and relaxing environment.

  97. Oh my. My internet connection is down for a couple of days and look what happens. I'm just gonna skip over all the drama and say congrats Eric on another interview! You're quite the celebrity, aren't you. Better than a movie star!

  98. Tomate said, "By the way, another thing French people do is argue pretty er.. strongly (for lack of a better word) with each other" I wonder why you are having a problem with ME doing the same thing.

    I've been over this for a LONG TIME (as you SEE by my posts changing the subject over and over) but you guys keep talking about it.....and pulling me back in.

    So, I allow me the freedom to be JUST LIKE YOU, ok? Cause I am EXACTLY the same way. It's no problem. I'm over it.

  99. Michael.where will you go in Brasil? I have friends in Belo Horizonte.

  100. Susan: Tomate said, "By the way, another thing French people do is argue pretty er.. strongly (for lack of a better word) with each other" I wonder why you are having a problem with ME doing the same thing.

    I'm not!!! I'm just trying to give you a different view point on Damien's comment. Personally, I couldn't care less one way or the other.

    I suppose some things come across a lot better face than they do in words, uh?

  101. Tomate: ;) You are the best!

    And go see the very handsome frenchman on Eric's most recent post!

  102. Wow I am hallucinating too about the Starbucks war. I don't want to judge who's right or wrong. Only one thing though: making anonymous comments to insult or slander I find a cowardly way to act. If someone has to say something about the author of course he/she is free to express it but anonymously is simply low and difamatory. So I also make an appeal to maintaining the friendly spirit.

  103. Eh ben voilà une super idée. Suis motivé à fond pour améliorer ma technique d'ici l'année prochaine, moi ! Et pas pour les beaux yeux de Candeloro !…

  104. mll: Ok, Tomate, admettons que je n'ai rien dit. De toutes façons, je remarque que dès que quelqu'un a quelques reproches ou remarques à faire ici, il se fait "fusiller". Je suis d'accord, je ne suis pas obligée de venir ici. Ce blog n'est pas pour le français "moyen" qui ne parle pas (ou presque pas) la langue de Shakespeare, je m'en vais. Et excusez moi d'aimer mon pays et ma langue. (Ce qui ne veut pas dire que je déteste les étrangers) En parlant de langue, vous connaissez la bonne blague ?...Non, je ne vais pas la dire, je vais me faire "fusiller".
    (Merci quand même d'avoir pris la peine d'écrire en français) :)

    Excusez moi, je n'avais pas du tout remarqué votre commentaire hier et vous avez parfaitement raison.

    A part les blogs des journalistes ou ceux qui traitent de politique ou de sujets dits "polemiques", souvent les gens qui viennent regulièrement sur un blog viennent parce qu'ils aiment la tendance generale du blog, et par extension la personne derrière le blog, tout au moins ce qu'on en perçoit ou ce qu'on s'imagine de cette personne. Au bout d'un moment, parce qu'on croit avoir developé une "relation" avec le blogueur, on devient "protecteur" du blog et les gens qui veulent exprimer des idées differentes se font jetter... Je sais pas si c'est bien ou pas, mais c'est souvent comme ça.

    Ce que je regrette avec les commentaires sur les blogs et ces petites fenêtres c'est qu'il n'y a pas assez de place pour vraiment bien discuter. Ce qu'il faudrait c'est tout le monde autour d'une table, une bonne bouteille ;) Sérieusement, j'imagine que si Damien etait resté plus longtemps et avait pu expliquer sa position plus en détail, il aurait pu trouver un terrain d'entente avec les même gens qui ont mal réagi à son commentaire (moi y compris).

    Mais quand on balance les mots "pro-americain" moi ça me fait toujours grogner. D'ailleurs, vu d'ici (USA), pro-americain, ça veut rien dire. USA est un pays immense avec des millions de gens qui viennent de tous les coins du monde et qui sont bien differents les uns des autres. Mettre tout le monde dans le même sac est completement idiot!

    En ce qui concerne l'usage de l'Anglais, n'oubliez pas que cela nous permets de communiquer avec des gens du monde entier et ça aussi c'est quand meme bien sympa.

    Bon, allez, ça suffit j'arrête de dire des betises :)

  105. Euh, au fait, c'est quoi la blague avec la langue? ;)

  106. Just to mix this up a little further, dare i? - no nothing really, just that there's a great starbucks pic at Seoul, Korea Daily Photo. Been travelling around the world via DP just now and spotted it!
    Randomly, too, the photographer is superb at Kuala Lumpar (in my opinion).

  107. Zut, avec tout ça j'ai completement oublié ce que j'étais venue dire hier... Eric, tu veux vraiment une tasse Starbucks de SF?

    Dang, with all this I completely forgot the reason I came back to this thread yesterday ... Eric, do you really want a San Francisco Starbucks cup? ;)

  108. No Tomate don't bother! Thank you though. If everything goes well I should be in the bay area around February or March I'll get it myself!

  109. You should also come to St. Louis sometime. My husband and I could show you the sites, and you could pick up a St. Louis mug from a Starbucks!

  110. Good deal! We'll shine the cable cars for you and maybe our young mayor Gavin Newsom (remember the guy who signed the digital sister cities pact in April with Delanoe?) could go pick you up at the airport and throw a little party for you at City Hall or something :)

  111. I'll pick you up from the airport!

  112. Sorry, Soosha, he won't be able to do that because he's coming to Cheltenham. Aren't you Eric. Aren't you? lol

  113. I enjoyed SB in Paris for that reason: smoke-free, good coffee, and knowledge about how to order. And my barista was from Canada, so I felt at home. The one near our hotel (Rue de Montmartre, je pense) was a nice getaway for us on occasion. I still remember its very narrow stairway to the bathrooms.

    Sadly, we also visitied Mcdo daily, for the free internet.

  114. Anonymity (because I do not have the Luxury to register at the public library).

    I will write in English as it as been the main dialect (West German Saxon, Mercian, Northumbrian and Kentish) since the mid-5th century and the most used online comparing to the Francois (French). However 54 some countries are speaking it, making it 250 millions people.

    Actually, French do not care much about the desert type coffee from SB, just love the differences and the ambiance.
    SB is not "a turning point or a coming of age." Starbucks' whipped-cream-topped caramel Macchiatos or vanilla Frappuccinos may seem more like a Disneyland experience.

    Drama queen over Damien: I would like to recommend a book called "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow"
    My only wish is to read the Americain version but they did not do it yet!
    then read "50 Reasons to Hate the French: Or Vive la Difference by Jules Eden and Alex Clarke" they are doing a much better way explaining the differences since Benjamin Franklin.
    On TV5 Monde ( They did a reportage on SB, McDo and the French corner cafe type. The owner of the Cafe did not mind them too much. "Tu es bien libre en liberte" (love that phrase from a french movie).

    "American coffee, it's only water. We call it jus des chaussette (sock juice)," says Bertrand Abadie, a documentary filmmaker.
    That WAS before the war of coffee in the 80' between Dunken Donuts, Wawa, 7/11...

    To me a Cafe in Paris is: noise bcse people live outside the comfortable house (and computer) notice the hard chairs, the bartenders is nice, fast, efficient.
    Two way to do it: Enter the scene go to the bar (do not smile) and say "bonjour" (I never see people says Hello at SB) ask for "un cafe" or "un Express" (the "please" is not expected at this time) then "dunk" your squared cubes one at the time (make sure you get the edges to get all that foam) eat those yummy sugar cubes then drink it! You could ask for a glass of water if needed (use please here, same price) then leave your 2.5 Euro on the "zing" (bar) and leave happy. You also can also grab "un croissant" from the basket (he will charge it to your bill)
    Or seat, wait your turn then you can stay as long as needed, no questions asked!

    SB is a great concept but CANNOT BE compared with a French bistro. Bistro are for "Rendez-vous" not Meeting. You cannot get a mug from a Bistro that easily.

    Try bringing your dog at SB!

    They are not opening a French cafe bellow ground at the Louvre but a Starbucks branch. Paris has a lot of tourist daily and someone as too feed them when they are tired trying to understand the menu.

    Actually, McDo is the direct competition, as they have free wi-fi, better living room look like, better meeting seating, and if you made some business, you can order a beer (not a late grande) to celebrate!!! My favorite is asking "une andouillette" comes with belgian fries (Symbol of Belgium ie: Not French but the waffles are!) and lot of strong moutard at the local Brasserie. You will get some respect from all the bistro if you are Anglo-Saxon. Guaranty!

  115. It's great to see a blog of this quality. I learned a lot of new things and I'm looking forward to see more like this. Thank you.