|Will the artists at Place du Tertre soon be sipping coffee out of cups emblazoned with the Starbuck's logo?|
If someone asked you to close your eyes and imagine one spot in Paris that symbolizes everything that the city means to you, would you conjure up images of a cozy café in the Marais, an old bookstore in the Latin Quarter or a Starbucks at Place du Tertre in Montmartre?
After noticing a heated debate on Twitter regarding the American coffee company's impending invasion of the picturesque square, I traveled to Montmartre yesterday afternoon to ask some of the local artists about their new neighbor. Their pragmatic responses surprised me. C'est la vie - business is business. It seems that the former owner, whom the artists have known for 25 years, had tried to sell the property to an individual proprietor but no one could afford the exorbitant fond de commerce. Then along came Paul, the French bakery. Paul was sent packing, however, when some of the other merchants voiced concerns that the large chain would put them out of business. Starbucks, it seems, was the best choice. After mentioning the souks that have taken over several of the streets in the area, the artists said that they were relieved that their friend had sold his restaurant to an international company with a good reputation. They were sure that Starbucks would maintain the property. They were pleased for their friend. He has finally sold his restaurant and can retire.
Resigning myself to the realities of modern day Paris, I trudged down the steps towards the metro. When I heard a group of Americans behind me, I couldn't resist asking if they had heard the news. Shaking their heads in dismay, they said that a Starbucks will completely ruin the essence of Place du Tertre. As for me, I'm still trying to imagine Hemingway ordering a Frappuccino grande and a muffin before settling down with his laptop to take advantage of Starbuck's free wifi.
|Au Pichet du Tertre will soon be Au Starbucks du Tertre. At least they won't have to change the color scheme!|
|The official declaration of work for the Starbucks at the Place du Tertre.|