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"Le Café de Seattle"
Connaissez-vous le Starbucks?

There used to be "Le Café de Paris." Now Paris has "Le Café de Seattle." Or should it be called "Au Pognon des Etoiles"? Will we soon see Bertrand Delanoë, the Mayor of Paris, surfing the Net on his Apple via WiFi? Or will it be simply a refuge for all the gringos descending on the French capital?

Back in 1972, when Mickey D's started flipping burgers they had a few problems and shut down for a while. We all remember the trouble at Disneyland Paris. But now that José Bové has spent time as a convict and Jacques and George and slugging down Buds together, the gates of Paris might be wide open. With over 6,200 locations worldwide it was time to say "Bonjour, voulez-vous prendre un Frappuccino avec moi, ce soir?"

"It is with the utmost respect and admiration for the café society in France that we announce our entry into the market," Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz said in a statement. "

Historically, French cafés have served as the "third place" to authors, philosophers and artists," he said, adding that he believed Starbucks "will fit well into the French café tradition." Just like Coca-Cola, Levi's, IBM and all the other American marketing successes.

Starbucks opened its first location in France on Friday, January 16. Starbucks, 26, ave. de l'Opéra, 75001.

(Updated: 07/09/08 HC)