Smoothwall Firewall project

Sunday 1 February 2009

The death of the local French bar

I bought a house in France over twelve years ago in the Deux Sevre , which is a lovely country county (department) of western France. When we first moved here the bars were all doing reasonably well and making a sort of living, even if the bar owners were never going to own a Ferrari.

Since then the French government has passed stupid law after stupid law to basically destroy the client base that kept these interesting and diverse bars going. There was the smoking ban in public places, then the police crack down on drink driving, the ridiculously high prices the bar owners have to pay for selling cigarettes and beer. It has now reached the point, and I do not exaggerate, that it is more expensive for me to drink in my local bar in my local village than it is in the west end of London.

These changes have all now conspired to drive many of them out of business. The ones that are able to keep themselves afloat are having to become more like a restaurants than a bar, which destroys the whole ambiance of a drinking establishment.

It will be a really sad day for the French way of life once all these great little places, quirky , untidy, smoky and sometimes a little grubby around the edges go out of business.

As a man who likes the odd glass of wine or beer in a convivial and friendly bar , I for one will not be celebrating their passing.

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