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CAFÉ CULTURE IN EUROPE

One of my absolute favorite things—and something that is sorely lacking today—is practicing the habits of a “flaneur.” This is a French term for one who wanders. Walking around a foreign city—especially a European city—without a map is one of life’s great adventures. Winding cobblestone streets, old cathedrals, stone monuments, and cafes with the perfect shot of espresso or Aperol Spritz are all on the agenda for anyone who finds themselves strolling around a typical European city.

Café Culture

The idea of just wandering off to a café with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.” –J.K. Rowling

Café culture in Europe (most notably France and Italy) is famous worldwide. Italy is the birthplace of espresso, so naturally, Rome, Milan, and Venice are ideal cities to visit if you wish to sit in a charming café sipping caffè. Norway is also known for its enormous café culture; people consume copious amounts of coffee. Sitting in a café while watching the passersby is where great ideas are born. Make sure to take a little notebook and pen with you to write down ideas, and while you’re at it, have a book to read, too.

Cafés are where friends meet to chat and watch the world go by. This can last for hours. After coffee, it’s time for cocktails! Europeans truly value their social lives and they can be found at pubs or brasseries on any given night. Another truly delicious part of Europe (especially France) is the beautifully presented treats in shop windows. Go into any boulangerie or patisserie for the yummiest baguette or pastry.

Art, Legacy and Heritage

Well, I said, ‘Paris is old, is many centuries. You feel, in Paris, all the time gone by. That isn’t what you feel in New York.’” –James Baldwin

When every corner has a story to tell, it doesn’t matter if you get lost! Because European countries are so old, there’s always something remarkable to see. Whether you stumble upon ancient ruins, a cathedral, a cemetery filled with cenotaphs, or a beautiful fountain, you always get the feeling that they’re a part of history in Europe. The art museums are unsurpassed, so if you find yourself in Paris, visit the Louvre or, if you’re in London, marvel at works in the Tate Modern.

A Leisurely Pace

Lingering over a meal while savoring a good bottle of wine with friends is ubiquitous in Europe. Savoring food and drink is one of life’s great pleasures. It is also a great dietary hack. If you eat more slowly, you’ll realize when you’re full. People also tend to eat later in European cities. In Spain, everyone takes a siesta in the afternoon, so businesses shutter their doors, and the cities get quiet. Europeans are, by and large, a lot more relaxed than Americans. They value their jobs, but money and business aren’t everything; it’s essential to make time for friends, conversation, and, most of all, family.

And then get moving!

Walking and cycling are huge parts of everyone’s daily lives in Europe. There are absolutely no cars in certain areas (take Venice, for example). Making exercise a p

art of your routine is one of the best things you can do for your health. One doesn’t necessarily have to go to the gym to break a sweat. The best type of exercise is the kind that happens organically.

Another charming and healthy aspect of Europe is the fresh food. This means going to the market every day to buy fruits and vegetables, meat from the local butcher, and so on. Eating unprocessed food and using less plastic are healthy habits for our bodies as well as the environment. Europe is also known for its enchanting flea markets (especially Paris and Amsterdam). You never know what sort of treasure you’ll find!

To read more about the Nabila Khashoggi lifestyle (including my clean beauty brand, Nabila K, and my Spartan & the Green Egg publications), check out the website and blog.

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