Starbucks Coffee International, a wholly owned subsidiary of US coffee retail chain Starbucks, and its joint venture partner Grupo Vips, are to open the first Starbucks store in Paris on 16 January.

Starbucks Coffee France SAS, the joint venture company, will manage the day-to-day operations of Starbucks retail locations in France.

Managing director Franck Esquerre said that France has a strong coffee-drinking tradition and the company was therefore confident that Starbucks would prove a hit.

“Over the past few months, we have been working closely with several small specialty French food companies to adapt some of Starbucks key pastries to local tastes,” continued Esquerre. “We are also using local ingredients to develop traditional French pastries and other fresh food items to appeal to our French customers.”

Starbucks Coffee International and Grupo Vips, a leading Spanish food service and retail operator, announced a joint venture in September 2003 to open Starbucks retail locations in France.

Starbucks Coffee France is to open its second store in the business area of La Defense on 19 January.