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Review: Le Cafe des Chats
Due to the lack of wi-fi in my $29 per night AirBnB apartment (you can imagine), I had to find more creative ways to spend time with cats.
Luckily, Paris is home to the first cat café, a trendy new dining concept which has also hit New York, Tokyo and Melbourne in the last year. What they offer is a regular café experience but with 100% more cats than usual (provided you usually have your coffee at health and safety regulated establishments and not old spinsters houses). No reinvention of the café wheel, they’ve literally just added some cats.
While cafés are usually relaxed environments with people chilling out and catching up (with humans), the atmosphere here is wired with anticipation and excitement. There are only 3 rules at Le Café des Chats, wash your hands, don’t feed the cats and don’t wake them (the cats). The last rule, along with seat allocation, is the clincher and means that you don’t choose the cats, the cats choose YOU. As a result, everyone sits around nervously reviewing their perceived desirability to cats; do I smell good? Does my lap look comfortable? How is my voice pitch? Do I look like high-brow company?
The cats in this café, some 12 tabbies from nearby shelters, like all other cats in the world do not seem particularly perturbed by the customers’ desperation for their attention and generally get about doing whatever the fuck they want. Lazing on chairs, sleeping soundly, sharpening their claws, walking all over your table, inspecting your cappuccino and cookie. Unfortunately, it is entirely possible you will never actually pat a cat unless you seek one in someone else’s area, but luckily everyone shares the same goal (cat affection) and most people are obliging.
Looking around the somewhat damp feeling cave that is the bottom floor, the clientele are mostly young girls with shopping bags taking a break from the arduous task that is shopping in Paris, or mothers with daughters who appear to be here for the novelty. But amongst them are a few people who seem unnervingly comfortable and familiar, which gets me thinking, what does it really mean to visit a cat café? Sure, I am a tourist and I miss my cat because she is SO FAR AWAY but what about the regulars? Is this where the spouses of the allergic go to get their hit as a result of marital compromise? Is this where clean-living CEO’s go to lower their blood pressure between meetings? Is this where owners of aggressive old cats go to spend time with younger, more playful felines? HAVE THE FRENCH TURNED CAT MONOGAMY ON IT’S HEAD?!
Finding Le Café des Chats full of people (and cats, again, with the cats) clearly indicates a real market for such a thing in a day and age where people move house and travel too frequently to own pets. While it may not be for everyone (like people who don’t like cats) Le Café des Chats does live up to the hype in that the hype is centred around there being cats in a café, and there were cats in the café.
Cat sleeping, giving zero fucks.
Cookie and Coffee, as per regular cafe.
Cat, hating everything.
Les Café de Chats: 8/10
16 Rue Michel le Comte, 75003 Paris, France
+33 9 73 53 35 81
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