Opening a café on the main square of any town in France is a no brainer. Today it is 21 degrees Celsius in March and everyone is outside. We grab the only two free seats at Café Europe and order two hot chocolates.
In France unlike many other countries, being a waiter is a respectable profession, one that is taken very seriously. The ones working here today show that it takes a lot of skill. There must be over 50 tables outside with 2-3 chairs per table. The three men carry trays taking and filling all the orders in an impressively efficient manner. They are to the point but still friendly and more than happy to stop and joke. Two minutes after we order our waiter returns balancing a tiny tray covered in drinks; a coke, 2 fruit juices, a few beers, an espresso and our hot chocolates. He tucks the bill under the ashtray on the table and continues on his way.
This is a people watching café. From here you can watch the main square and all its activity. An ice cream truck parked next to the water fountain is serving a line of about seven people, mostly kids. A group of young ladies walks by, all carrying multiple shopping bags. A baby at the table next to us starts laughing. You can also pick up all sorts of bits and pieces of conversations. The young man next to us is speaking to his girlfriend on the phone, wondering why she is late. Another group exchange gossip gathered throughout the day. People have their drinks, pay, leave and are quickly replaced with new people. You could never get bored here.
Verdict: At the end of the day when Pau comes out to play, the terrace of Europe is where you want to be to take it all in…and the hot chocolate is exactly as it should be. Cafe de L’Europe, 17 rue Mar Foch, Pau, France.