Thursday, January 03, 2008

Au Revoir to the Smoke-Filled French Cafe

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.

This was not a decision taken lightly. Magazines ran nostalgic photo-spreads reminding us that French people look seriously cool with a fag in their mouth - as illustrated by Charles de Gaulle, Brigitte Bardot and the ambassador for nicotine-enhanced thinking, Jean-Paul Sartre. Even president Nicolas Sarkozy, painfully image-conscious, posed for Paris Match wrestling with a fat cigar. STORY

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