Admit it: posing seductively in a bar, slaying them all with your wit in a café and pigging out on cakes in a tea room are among your top Paris fantasies.If you can get to know Paris' cafés and bars, you can get to know Paris. These are the city's sitting rooms, the places where everybody comes for a natter, a drink, and – more often than you might think – a canoodle; this is Paris. Legendary after-hours boozer magnet Polly Magoo is no more, but don't listen to the scaremongers who bemoan the decline of the 'zincs' (the old-style cafés with their impressive array of irregular regulars); there's plenty left for traditionalists, and lots of great new places, too. Parisian cafés and bars are fantastic for a spot of people-watching: you'll see the sozzled old Gainsbourg-alikes, the pretty young things who fall out of bed looking like film stars, the dazed and confused and those gangs of middle-aged ladies who look for all the world like they've been bingeing on gorilla biscuits and are ready for a punch-up. Note that prices are generally lowest standing at the bar, slightly higher seated inside and highest on the terrace outside. And don't forget that while you're drinking in the sights and sounds, people will be having a look at you, too. Santé!


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