Saturday, 25 May 2013

Le Metropole, 24 Place Rihour, Lille

Le Metropole, Lille.
I was really looking forward to finding a cosy café in which to settle down with a book for half an hour or so, but despite wandering around a grey and rain-soaked Lille looking for an ideal spot, I couldn't find anything and settled for Le Metropole.

Le Metropole doesn't really fit the bill, but it had to do. There was an old man sitting under an awning outside and behind him the darkened interior and the diner-style seating made me feel that it was the closest I'd get to luxury – although I was disappointed on so many levels. It just wasn't cosy enough. There were banknotes stuck to the walls and it was licensed, which means it doesn't strictly follow TeaShopandCaff guidelines.

I was in for breakfast – or rather a pre-breakfast as my official breakfast at the hotel beckoned. Having said that, had Le Metropole offered a decent breakfast, I might have settled in for half an hour or so before making tracks to work.

A teapot without a proper lid containing hot water – it just isn't cricket!
The French, I've discovered, just don't understand tea. If you order tea, they never provide milk and you have to ask for it, which is a bit of nuisance. And this time, I ordered my tea and a croissant too. The teapot didn't have a lid, but instead a small plate. There was hot water, not tea, in the pot and I was provided with a tea bag in a sachet, a wrapped biscuit that one normally gets with after-dinner coffee and the croissant, served as is, with no butter. I had to ask for milk and was given a small jug so I poured in a little dash of milk and returned the jug to the bar.

There were two other customers inside and they didn't seem very happy. One, in fact, seemed positively irritated with me for ordering tea and then having the audacity to ask for milk.

I drank my tea, finished my croissant and left having paid the EUR5.10 bill.

Not an ideal place, I thought, wondering if I would ever find the perfect cosy café. Later, I found a bar and enjoyed a medium-sized Chimay prior to catching the EuroStar to London. The Moulin D'or (31-33 Place du Theatre, 59000 Lille) was the perfect place and, if the truth be known, I probably could have ordered a pot of tea there, but it was early evening and a beer fitted the bill nicely.

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