By André Gayot
A survey by the European Commission states that 79% of Europeans approve of the smoke prohibition in restaurants. So what about the other 21%? Twenty one per cent of the European population is about 30 million people. This strong minority still finds fun in smoking.
No wonder that a few restaurateurs think that there’s a niche market catering to nicotine addicts. But how to lure them back—legally, that is—to the tables?
The law is strict: smoking in a restaurant is allowed only in a tightly-closed, separately-ventilated space with no access for the waiters, maître d’s and sommeliers so they can avoid the risks of passive smoking. The staff must be hailed via walkie-talkie and then whisk your order through a special passage. It is a costly installation, but it’s conceivable that after such an effort, the smoking diners will pay the price of their pleasure.
These tobacco-inspired restaurateurs claim they don’t welcome in their glass cages the compulsive cigarette chain smokers but rather the elite cigar aficionados who seriously savor smoke like it was foie gras. In case you belong to the nicotine aristocracy, for your next trip to Paris, here are some clues as to where to satisfy your distinguished addiction.