Paris: A long time ago when I learned why Paris was such a good town for lunch, I loved an old line from a Belmondo film: "café, pousse-café, cigare." You ate your way through an entrée (as in entry: the first course), main dish, cheese, and something sweet.
The important part came next. After sipping a rich short coffee, you ordered a glass of any dark liquid with a name ending in "ngac." Finally, the waiter brought a heavy wood humidor of Cuban cigars.
Connoisseurs believed a cigar to be as vital to a good meal as a fork. Not everyone loved this sacrosanct ritual. For many, downwind of an odiferous Churchill is not a great place to be. But in a city that treasured epicurean extremes, laissez-faire carried the day.
The first Parisian no-smoking rules were pretty much French-style. Cafes posted signs with those red circles and a slash across a cigarette. Usually, however, you couldn't see them for all the smoke.
Then it got better. Anyone who wanted to could avoidRead More »from Eating On the Edge #27: Smokeless in Paris