Au Revoir to the Smoke-Filled French Cafe – washingtonpost.com
In bars and cafes across Paris, in restaurants and casinos throughout France, the once-revered cigarette now is officially banned, relegating one of the Western world’s last public smoking holdouts to the ashtray of history.On Wednesday, the public act that perhaps most epitomized the French as sexy, debonair, sultry, brooding — and perhaps more than a little susceptible to cancer — was snuffed out by the government.

In a single day, Parisian dining establishments and watering holes acquired an entirely new atmosphere.

Davy Kazan took a deep breath and glanced incredulously around the boisterous dining room of the Vaudeville brasserie, which is usually blanketed with smoke by mid-evening.

“You can actually smell the food!” declared Kazan, 39, a Munich resident who is on a New Year’s vacation in Paris.

He said he’s also excited about returning home to visit his favorite sports bar, which became smoke-free Wednesday under tighter smoking restrictions imposed in many German cities and regions.

But Romain Lefevre, a 41-year-old real estate broker, was fuming in the now-smokeless bar of Le Beaujolais Cafe a block from the Eiffel Tower.

“Not smoking during dinner is not a problem, but after eating — yes, I would like a cigarette with my coffee,” said Lefevre, a pack-a-day smoker for 20 years.

Personally, I’m very glad this has come about at last. I love Paris but I hate the smoking everywhere – especially in restaurants.

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