One of my favorite things about traveling to Europe is hanging out in cafes all day and reading the paper. My least favorite thing about Europe is sitting in these same cafes and inhaling all that horrific secondhand smoke.
Well, I’m happy to report that this New Year’s Eve, just like the last couple, has brought with it more regional legislation prohibiting smoking in European pubs, cafes, and restaurants. This year the smoke-free axe fell in France and eight states in Germany. This means that all those legendary watering holes of Hemingway’s Paris and Isherwood’s Berlin will now be without that infamous haze in which various characters wiled away lifetimes of afternoons.
Personally, I couldn’t be more excited. Now if only the dollar would improve, I might actually be able to afford a smoke-free drink in one of these places.
Oh, and in case you want to risk it and light up, France is levying a 450 euro fine for the smoker and a 750 euro fine for the bar itself. So do everyone a favor, and don’t try it.