11am at the Corner Cafe
Originally uploaded by malias.
When the chimes strike midnight on New Year's Eve 2007 me and a lot of people like me living in France will have another reason to celebrate the arrival of 2008.
As we top up our champagne glasses with a spot more Pommard and link arms to blurt out a semi-coherent rendition of auld lang syne descending into a hogmany inspired inebriation. I'll glance across the room and watch gleefully as the smokers light up their final cigarettes.
Praise the Lord! (or rather praise the EU directive) the smoking ban will come into force in cafes, bars, nightclubs and restaurants on January 1st 2008. In every other public place the ban has been in effect since February 2007 but due to intense lobbying cafes were given an extra 11 months grace.
What I've found most surprising in Paris is that so many non-smokers I've spoken to oppose the new rule. Only yesterday one of them told me that they were against the ban because smoking was part of the culture of French cafes . Well I suppose lung cancer is part of the culture of French hospitals but it doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything about it.
It's bad enough in bars but smoky Parisian restaurants can be unbearable. The pleasure of enjoying a Turbot a L'Estragon baked to perfection in a swanky Paris brasserie is significantly reduced when a dozen lungs worth of Gitanes wafts over into your eyes and nostrils and Johnny Halliday bursts out over the speakers.
Actually Johnny Halliday won't be banned in France just yet but it's only a matter of time.