Café Review: Coutume


I went to this café called Coutume last week and I really loved the experience! I thought I would let people (especially English speakers) know about it, because there have been a lot of less than desirable experiences with Paris establishments, so this one really stood out! First off – the details:

When: February 13th, 2015 – We went early in the morning, around 10:30am.

Who: With two other friends (One American, One English)

So, we walked into this cafe not knowing what to expect, and the thing that I noticed right away was that people were speaking English! In fact, ALL the baristas were speaking English! If you’ve been to Paris before, you’ll understand what a phenomena this is.

We were immediately greeted, seated and chose our drinks. I later got breakfast too – I will say, per usual “pancakes” aren’t really pancakes, more compact and dense, but still good. The overall atmosphere reminded me a lot of Seattle in that it was edgy, relaxed, artistic, earthy and everything a café should be (in my opinion, of course).

Our baristas were cheeky, hilarious and so nice! They gave us such a fun experience and helped us find things on the menu etc. Overall, such a great experience!

Oh, and they have WIFI (again, if you’ve been to Paris – not the same as in the U.S.)!! 5star1



Similarities in France and US

Okay, so living in another country can feel like you’re living on a different planet, but there are also a lot of things that won’t seem quite so foreign when you travel to France, as an American. Let me give you some examples:

1. Pokemon: I really find it amazing how pervasive Pokemon is globally. I can remember sneak watching Pokemon when it came out in the mid 90’s (because, let’s be real, it wasn’t a friend of many Christian households, once upon a time) and to see my 8 and 5 year old playing with the cards STILL, thousands of miles away from where I grew up is amazing to me.

2. US Pop Music: It’s really funny in France because most people don’t speak English fluently, but the music in all of the grocery stores is American and a lot of French people listen to American Music. The favorite that I’ve noticed, so far, is definitely Katy Perry with Taylor Swift coming in a close second. But it’s pretty funny that, although people sing along, they have no idea what the words mean, half the time.

3. American/British Flags: Most French people don’t really like anyone who isn’t French, but I see SO MANY American and British flags. I see them on backpacks, t-shirts, sweaters and pretty much everything else. It’s like the 4th of July every day.

4. Coca-Cola: If there’s one drink that you can pretty much count on in most restaurants it’s Coke. It’s the American drink found in grocery stores, vending machines and pretty much anywhere else where drinks are sold. When I first came to France I drank a lot of Coke because I was really home sick. But, fun fact: I actually hate coke, and don’t know why pouring poison in my body reminded me of home.

5. Disney! Of course! I live right next to Paris Disneyland, which I haven’t been to yet. But I’m sure that I’ll be headed there at some point in the future (how can I not!). In general, there is about the same amount of Disney influence in Paris as there is in Seattle. Kids here love the movies, and I already own a few more than I did when I lived in the US. What’s nice is that the DVD’s come in English and French, so you can watch either version.

6. Nutella: Fun fact – I had never eaten Nutella before coming to France. But now I’m addicted, like the rest of the world. My favorite it Nutella and banana crêpes. Drool. I also learned while I was in Germany, that Nutella is actually an Italien brand and comes from the combination of the words “nut” and “bella”. Weird.

7. Video games: Video games and gaming are exactly the same in France. They’re just as well loved and the same games are played. My au pair brothers love to play Clash of Clans and own pretty much every type of gaming console.

8. Frozen: Let’s be real, “Let it go” is still echoing off the sides of the Eiffel Tower a year after it’s release. Lucky for me, I happen to LOVE the movie. But it’s still pretty funny how many times I’ve watched it since I’ve been here. I will say it has some of the best dubbing I’ve seen, though, and the characters in French are as good as they are in English.

9. Game of Thrones: Yep. Popular here. Lots of people watch the series, and I can’t wait until the next season starts because I will be watching each episode in our home theater, which has a screen the size of the wall.

10. UNO: Again, games seem to translate well across seas, and Uno is loved by French and Americans alike. It’s really fun to play with my au pair kids because they’re able to work on their English numbers and colors, while playing a game that I absolutely love. I never travel to a house with kids without my deck of UNO cards.


SOCCER: Ok, so it’s not called soccer here. But football is pretty huge in Europe, of course, and France is no different. I love being able to play with my boys, and I love that we can all sit around the TV and enjoy watching a game we all love, and that needs no translation.

Things that are the same in France

Quiet Before The Storm

Facebook Collage

It’s only been a few days since I’ve been in France, but already I’m learning the importance of nap time. My schedule right now is a little bit off from what it could/should be because only one of the kids is here (the little girl) and the boys are at camp until later today. The family also is getting read for guests this weekend and school doesn’t start for another week, which is going to be rough. While taking care of kids is always challenging, taking care of kids who don’t speak your native language AT ALL and whose language you only speak about 70% of is a category all in its own. The combination of language translation and jet lag make for a tired stew, but this is where I’ve discovered the beauty of nap time. One whole hour of silence. Praise the Lord.

Within this hour I have so squeeze every drop out of every minute by blogging, artsying, reading, writing, texting, Facebooking and any other kind of social media. It’s a fun time – who knew I could be so productive!?

So far the transition hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. Yes there’s a bit of a language barrier, but luckily the little little girl LOVES that she (as the youngest) gets to tell someone else how to speak. She’s extremely helpful, though and loves having me tell her how to say words in English…half of which she can’t actually pronounce. But it goes both ways, because when she laughs at me for not pronouncing something perfectly in French, I tell her how to say it in English and then we both laugh together at our inefficiencies.

I’m pretty curious/terrified to see how the dynamics will change when the two boys arrive tonight. They are, apparently, a handful, and also DO NOT speak English. Joy. But with kids you just never know. Sometimes having more kids in a house actually mellows, rather than stressing them out.

A couple days ago I went on a walk with the little girl and her mom and we saw the Chateauneuf castle and went to a couple of shops. I notched all of these awesome rocks on the walkways and I think it’s flint. I’m not 100% sure, but I absolutely love it. Time to make some arrowheads! (Not really, but I think it would be cool conceptually).

Right now my list of things to do include: 

– Get a French bank account

– Get a pair of slippers: This dog hair is cray

– Buy containers for my knitting needles and paintbrushes

– Stamps for letters

– Find some people my age to hang out with!!

French phrases of the day: 

Don’t move from here: Ne gouge pas d’ici

Get out = Sors

You must do as I tell you: Tu dois faire ce je the dis

Be quiet = Taisez-vous

Sleep Well? = Bien Dormi?

Sit down = Assied-tu

Careful = Prudent

Slow Down = Doucement