Quel Fromage! Paris Still Exists In Wake of Smoking Ban

When smoking in bars and nightclubs was banned a few years ago in New York, the AP wrote about a city rapt with “fear, loathing and lament.” Despite concerns of a sudden, post-ban apocalypse, we survived—France, on the other hand, may be another story.

On W magazine’s Editors’ Blog today, Christopher Bagley writes about this week’s ban on smoking in cafes, restaurants and bars in Paris. And perhaps surprisingly, La Ville-lumière is still lumièring away—no eerie, I Am Legend-like scenes to be had.

“Most surprising of all has been the way the recalcitrant French have willingly complied with the new law. As of this writing, the ban has been in effect more than 24 hours, and there have been very few reported infractions, let alone riots in the streets,” Mr. Bagley, once a non-smoker living in the French capital, writes.

But, as the item also points out, “France is still France,” meaning, in this case at least, that the country’s papers have been “jammed with philosophical essays wondering whether the new ban signals the final death knell for liberté, egalité and, especially, fraternité.” One French paper, Le Parisien, even quoted Molière’s Don Juan, writing: “He who loves without tobacco doesn’t deserve to be alive.” Considering how easily the smoking ban gets broken in certain Euro-friendly bars and restaurants in this town, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Parisian ban ultimately proves to be—how do you say?—bullsheet.