Reading this post, I remembered two places I used to go to while attending college and university.
Pangea in Walla Walla (yes, it is a real town in southeastern Washington) was a coffeehouse with a decidedly bohemian feel. It was painted with Impressionist mural designs and was a general hangout for "Whitties" (Whitman College students). I don't drink coffee, so I remember getting loose-leaf herbal tea in big soup mugs with infusers that looked like plastic scoops you'd find in powdered drink mixes. There were a few board games to play, but they often had themed nights– one was simply a drum jam session. I remember some girls coming up to me later and flirting with me, I think, by saying that I looked like I had a really good time that night– I can't remember if I brought my own drum or not. This was 1994, if I remember right. I couldn't find the place when I came back for my honeymoon (yes, really) four years later.
D&M Coffeehouse was in Ellensburg, when I was attending Central Washington University from 1997-2000. It didn't have the same laid-back feel the Pangea did, but I went to listen to a Guitar Performance major friend of mine. The first time was just him, and he was alternating between classical guitar tunes and folk songs– one of them was an Ani DeFranco tune. I remember he had put a sophisicated pickup on his guitar (I believe it was a classical design) that picked up sound from the neck so he could stay close to the pure sound classical guitarist demand but have amplification for folk tunes. The second time he was performing with a group playing a sort of folk rock. I remember his girlfriend explaining to me at that performance that the mandolin she had was tuned just like a violin was.
I have never been to Paris. I know that the French have a much more relaxed approach to dining and cuisine, which is expressed somewhat in lunchtime at the café. I remember when Cimmy bought a copy of this book and reading about how dining was more of a social event, or a relaxing part of the day. I remembered this when watching PBS travel shows– I think it was Rick Steves' show and hearing once again how a leisurely lunch, sometimes at a café, was an important part of the day, and that it was never rushed.