|by Steve Merrill||France, Paris||23|
We just posted about a new smoking ban going into effect in Fort Worth, Texas, on New Year's.
Across the pond, Paris, France, will also go smoke-free in all public spaces, including cafés and restaurants, starting January 2, 2008. The city approached the ban in stages: it outlawed smoking in venues like schools and hospitals (!) in February of 2007, but granted a few additional, sweet months of addiction to patrons of bars, cafes, and restaurants. Time's up for Paris's legendary smoking culture with the turn of the year.
I'd never suggest a trip on the basis of a change in smoking laws, and the dollar feels a little like Monopoly money right now, but I like Paris in February—and there are usually bargains to be had. A disclaimer: if you hate the cold, keep in mind that historically Paris averages a high of about 45 degrees Fahrenheit in February (7 degrees Celsius). Personally, I think that makes dropping into a smoke-free, cozy café for vin chaud all the more satisfying, but I can understand if you don't.
UPDATE, Jan. 2 Do smoking bans increase the chance you'll visit cafes and other hotspots? Post your thoughts!