Thursday, January 3, 2008

Le Resistance!

We're heading off to France later his month just as the country is facing its biggest crisis in years: a ban on smoking in cafes. We couldn't be happier! England last year outlawed smoking in pubs and now this. But the French aren't taking this lying down. Here's one cafe owner's response:

French cafe owner rebels against smoking ban

LYON, France (AFP) - A French cafe owner put up protest art showing overflowing ashtrays and cigarette butts on Wednesday as he refused to apply a new smoking ban targeting restaurants and bars.
Christophe Cedat, owner of the Cafe 203 in Lyon, said the photo and poster-art exhibit in his smoky cafe would bring the debate surrounding the new ban into the "artistic domain" which he described as "neutral ground."
The trendy cafe's entrance displayed a banner that carried the warning: "Cultural and social experimental zone: you are exposing yourself to the threat of second-hand smoke."
A smoking ban went into force on Tuesday in cafes, restaurants and nightclubs, 11 months after the measure hit workplaces and other public areas.
After a one-day reprieve to smokers over the New Year festivities, police and public health officials began enforcing the ban on Wednesday.
Smokers who light up in cafes face fines of between 68 euros (100 dollars) to 450 euros while business owners can incur penalties of up to 750 euros for violations.
Cedrat said he would allow smokers to light up in his cafe between noon and 2 pm and plans to cover the cost of fines by selling small decorated ashtrays.

The picture above shows a cigarette-decorated table at the cafe. There's also a AFP video of the cafe owner and its patrons--you can see more of the "art" and practice your French at the same time.

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