I'm extremely sad to hear that France will soon be banning smoking in public places.
I'm no fan of cigarette smoke, but it's just so quintessentially French that I'm willing to put up with it for that sake. I lived with a Frenchman who chain smoked; when his chain-smoking friends would come over to shoot the breeze, smoke for hours and eat oysters, I'd hide up in my room. He'd also smoke at work even though he wasn't supposed to; he'd just open up his office window and hang the cigarette out of it. It all just seemed so normal that I never thought to complain to him or anyone else about it.
Gone will be the smoke-infused Paris that David Sedaris waxed so poetically about in Me Talk Pretty One Day. Maybe he'll just have to get an apartment in Romania. With this ban, France will no longer be the country of bon vivants; but at least it might create a job similar to that of the professional pooper-scooper guy for picking up the discarded butts that will litter French sidewalks more than ever before
It seems like the next thing they'll ban is public kissing. What will French teenagers do with all the extra free time that will create?