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€10 for a coffee on the terrace! French café takes a stand
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€10 for a coffee on the terrace! French café takes a stand

Oliver Gee · 7 Jul 2016, 11:37

Published: 07 Jul 2016 11:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Jul 2016 11:37 GMT+02:00

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There's nothing more pleasant than enjoying a slow and lazy coffee on the terrace of a French café whilst chatting or people watching, right?
In fact it's one of the many reasons people come to France. And while Anglos might get twitchy about hanging around post-coffee, the French are far more comfortable with finishing their espresso and then enjoying the next hour in front of an empty cup just chatting away with friends.
But for Jean-Michel Bonnus, the owner of La Réale brasserie in southern France's Toulon, this simply won't do. 
He says he is sick of customers dilly-dallying about with a simple coffee and a glass of water when he wants them to be buying cocktails.
And in a bid to draw attention to his plight, he upped the price of a simple black coffee - the kind which usually sells for between €1 and  €2 - to a whopping €10 in a bid to deter coffee drinkers from clogging up his terrace. 
The price increase came into effect a week ago and applies from 5pm each day. Bonnus told the local Var Matin newspaper that he originally had priced the coffees at €50 but chose to revise the figures.
Originally, the café had simply refused to serve customers any coffee at all in the evenings but this prompted complaints, forcing the owner to reconsider his plan of attack. 
Now, his café comes with a handwritten note on the window explicitly stating the new price. 
"People walking past think it's a joke when they see the sign plastered in my window," he told the paper.
"Now I don't sell coffee in the late afternoon, but if a customer wants to take one at the price offered then I will happily serve it up."
Other café owners in France have pulled off similar stunts in the past in a bid to change an aspect of French café culture they don't particularly like - impoliteness.
The Petite Syrah café in the Riviera city of Nice made world headlines in 2013 when it implemented a new pricing scheme, as seen in the picture below.

"A coffee" set customers back €7, according to the sign, while "a coffee please" came at €4.25.

Those who said: "Hello, a coffee please" were only charged €1.40.

The café manager Fabrice Pepino told The Local at the time that it started as a joke, but ended with a definite improvement in customer/employee relations.
"I know people say that French service can be rude but it's also true that customers can be rude when they’re busy," he said. 
Story continues below…
The move apparently has sparked many other French cafés to do the same, as The Local reported in April this year.
So what can us foreigners, immigrants, and expats learn from all this when ordering a coffee at a French terrace?
Well, the advice seems to be to mind your manners, don't hang around for too long, and - of course - read our full guide to France's terrace culture here. Bonne chance. 
Elbows in: A guide to the terrace culture of French cafés
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