The Jaywalker is a cosmopolitan soul, who has graced all three capitals with her fragrant presence, and thought you might appreciate her precious insights into the axis of Eurostar. She will, however, stop talking about herself in the third person as it is slightly disturbing.
So here is my score out of 10 for various key criteria. This test has been compiled sous contrôle d'huissier. Of course.
London: However you want it, as long as you like the taste of hamster poo. Antipodeans will bemoan the lack of 'flat white' until you wish to club them to death with a Gaggia. Sight of pasty commuters queueing for giant cups of milky slop may cause death of soul. Coffee geeks (numerous) know that only Monmouth does it right.
6/10 on the strength of milk frothing alone
Paris: A binary experience that can be summarised as café or pas de café. Cultural significance enormous, however. Opportunity to wreathe oneself in Gaulouise smoke and glower alluringly from behind your copy of Le Monde Diplomatique.
Strike a pose, 7/10
Brussels: Weak and tasteless. Makes up for lack of taste, however, in provision of free snacks. No coffee complete without chocolate or speculoos. Or both. Greatest and most creative stretch of the definition of a "cappucino": Au Vieux St Martin where it comes as a black coffee, a bowl of whipped cream, a large chocolate cigar AND a palmier biscuit.
8/10 for add ons.
Public transport reading matter
London: Evangelical Christian tracts, Metro, Harry Potter, Captain Corelli.
Paris: Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Houllebecq, Public.
Eclectic but predictable, 5/10
Brussels: Harry Potter in Swedish, food safety Directives, Lady Chatterley in Portugese, rabid Flemish newspapers, mechanical engineering textbooks in Greek, Horse and Hound, What Turban.
All human life is here. Unlikely to get bored if tram breaks down. 9/10
London: supermarket heaven. Some minimum wage lackey has been forced to chop your mango into bite sized chunks and put it in fifteen layers of packaging for your convenience. And then labouriously deseed a pomegranate and do the same. Really, what's not to love. British supermarkets should be required to take over the entire world.
Marks & Spencer and Waitrose to form next governing coalition in Belgium. 10/10
Paris: Abandon all hope, ye who enter G7. Or Monoprix. Extraordinarily small and seedy, and staffed by basilisk-eyed harridans who hate you and everything you stand for. The experience is fraught with danger, from trying to get a trolley, to paying. At any moment a member of staff or an elderly shopper is likely to subject you to verbal or physical assault. All this for a few out of date yoghurts? No no no. Picard, however, king of frozen goods, is a whole world of wonderful.
1/10, would have been 0 but for Picard bagels and mini icecreams.
Brussels: Hardly a thing of beauty, but relatively well-stocked. Beer aisle impressive. Eccentric aisle arrangemnents may drive you to distraction looking for aluminium foil. It is with the stationery, newbies. Queueing may prove hazardous, particularly on Mondays. Bring a book; or even better, two. War and Peace would be good, all seven volumes of A la recherche du temps perdu even better.
It's called Delhaize for a reason.... 6/10
Crazy street people
London: Religious nutters outside TopShop, wildly overdressed trannies in Hoxton, bonkers gentlewomen in tweed in Knightsbridge, ninety percent of the population of Glasgow along Tottenham Court Road, warring with the Scientologists and their free personality tests.
Run, run for your life! 9/10
Paris: Classic clochards only. Accessorise with plastic bottles of vin de table, smell of wee and call you "salope".
Brussels: At first sight they look completely normal if a little froissé. Then you see they are wearing one slipper, and carrying three ferrets. Exquisitely polite.
I like your style! Though your pet chicory is a little intimidating. 7/10
London: I should think not. Form an orderly queue!
We would be grateful for a moderate amelioration of conditions, in the fullness of time. Many thanks. 0/10
Paris: key curriculum item at every infant school. The CFO estimates that by the age of 18, the average French youth will have been on strike at least three times and can discourse knowledgeably about the relative merits of cobblestones and flags as projectiles.
Vive la révolution! 10/10
Brussels: Mainly the preserve of visiting interest groups, like fishermen, and French farmers on coach trips to the European Parliament. Except for the 'free' public transport system. Ahem.
Meh, we have beer to drink. Why so angry?! 4/10
Brussels triumphs! How astonishing.