Coffee and headphones are just some of the essential items one must always have during midterm exams. I recently completed my midterms, and it was my first time studying for hours at a time outside of the United States. I find it extremely difficult to study in my room, so I had to hunt for the best café to call home. There was only one issue: cafes with reliable Wi-Fi in Paris are extremely hard to come by.
One of the first images that comes to mind when I think of Paris is people sitting at a café enjoying an espresso. This romantic image is certainly real. This city is lined with fabulous cafés, and there are some boulevards where the awnings extend into the horizon. However, while these cafés can be tranquil, they are not the best location to study. Many of them do not have Wi-Fi. If they do, it is slower than a tortoise, and that is assuming it actually works. Finally, the Parisian café scene is not as accepting of laptops on their tables as a Starbucks in New York City. The idea of spending time and enjoying a friend’s company or reading a book over an espresso is a staple of Parisian culture. Therefore, the idea of someone setting up a mini-office in a perfect table is not entirely accepted with open arms. This is where the idea of collaboration cafés comes in.
At the beginning of the semester, I would go to the closest Starbucks to get work done. This is one of the few places where laptops are accepted. However, as I have stated, the Wi-Fi in Paris can be spotty, and Starbucks is no exception. After multiple failed attempts to accomplish some form of work, I looked up other Internet cafés in Paris. One that immediately caught my eye is a chain of collaboration cafés called Anticafé. I think the name speaks for itself, and it was started in Paris out of sheer demand. The idea goes against everything I had found in a café. Instead of purchasing food and drinks, you pay by the hour. During your time there, you can order unlimited drinks and munch on a plethora of snacks, which are all included in the hourly price. Finally, they have incredibly reliable Wi-Fi, and you can reserve tables to collaborate with your peers. This is where the term collaboration café comes from. I love the Anticafé, and I decided to become a member. I am incredibly efficient there, and I think this has to do with the fact that I am paying for every second. If you procrastinate, it will cost you. Literally.
I have noticed several other locations that call themselves a “collaboration café”. There is a restaurant down the street from my homestay that advertises the fact that they are a collaboration café until 6 p.m. I certainly plan on visiting this spot to compare it to Anticafé. While I love relaxing at a typical Parisian café, the demands of the 21st century have led to a rise in a new form of workspace in the French capital.
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<p>My name is Jonathan Skewes, and I am an advertising major at Pennsylvania State University. I have studied French for six years, and it is one of my true passions. I also enjoy playing soccer and discovering different cultures and countries.</p>