Starbucks, the coffee conglomerate that is the lifeblood of many American coffee drinkers, is difficult to find in France. There are a good amount in Paris and other large tourist-based cities. But, in the greater majority of France, the iconic coffee shop is nowhere to be found.

For the sake of comparison, here is a visual model of the amount of Starbucks in Texas versus the amount of Starbucks in France. I chose Texas because it is, geographically, near the same size of France (just 10% larger). Yet, France has a higher population density. If anything, the higher population of France gives my comparison stronger support.


So how come there aren’t as many? This could be attributed to the fact that Starbucks was born in the United States, but considering that Starbucks has been vastly popular in other parts of the world, such as Japan (1097 stores) and Great Britain (927 stores), it’s clear that Starbucks is having trouble catching on in France.

Additionally, the lack of Starbucks in France has nothing to do with a lack of coffee consumption. In fact, France ranks #17 in the world of highest coffee consumption, while the United States ranks at #25. The lack of Starbucks in France has to do with one thing: coffee culture.

Coffee culture is a huge aspect of daily life in France. The French simply don’t take their coffee to-go while they rush to work. The French make time in their morning journey to work to stop at their favorite local cafe. They pick a nice table, perhaps one on the patio. When they receive their coffee and pastry of their choice, they sit and relax, read the newspaper, or people watch. This is part of French traditional culture, one which they hold onto with steadfast.

enjoy french coffee
Bright and early one morning.

One of the first times I ordered coffee in France, I tried to order it to-go, emporter, to which I received a look of confusion. Coffee shops just don’t offer to-go options here. Something that French culture, and its coffee culture in particular, has taught me has been to slow down and enjoy what I’m doing. I give myself more time to sit and sip my coffee, rather than rush with it in hand to my destination.

It’s nice – I recommend giving it a try some time. Stop by a local coffee shop (preferably not Starbucks) and sit down while you drink it. Do a crossword in the newspaper. Doodle on your napkin. Don’t pull out your phone. People watch. And, most importantly, enjoy your coffee.

Don’t enjoy drinking coffee? Try rubbing it all over yourself! Check out my post on how to use coffee scrubs for perfect skin.


Map data from Loxcel Geometrics.