Bar in rural France
Bar in rural France, along the Via Podiensis.”

The Secrets of France

Café or Bar?

OK (“Okay”), let’s just straighten this out right now, just so we avoid any confusion… After thousands of kilometers (thousands of miles!) walking across France, through towns big and small, I began to wonder – What’s the difference between a bar and a café? There is quite a difference in the USA, but in France, the difference eluded me for a long time. My curiosity notched up when friends started asking why I was always “sitting in a little bar” whenever I wrote them postcards. Hmmmn…

Well… after extensive research, including sipping diverse libations, and cajoling countless proprietors, I was finally able to tease out the facts and unravel this subtle mystery.

A “Bar” is an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages and coffee.

A “Café” is an establishment that serves coffee and alcoholic beverages.

A sports bar in France
A sports bar in France, on the Chemin de Compostelle.”

So there you have it… Whenever you wander through a town ~ if you find a café or a bar, feel free to stop in for coffee, beer, juice, tea, pastisse, verre de vin, local knowledge, or whatever… They are all, in one way or another — wonderful!

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