image of 2 restaurateurs at Chez Piippo
Billet d'Humeur/At a Glance,  Life in Paris & France

New Real Estate for Paris Sidewalk Cafés

It is June 2. Parisians are in front of a café drinking their coffee, chatting with a table mate under a red awning and a bright blue sky. This sounds so normal. But it is another memorable day in history. The restaurants have gone from strictly take away to serving sit-down customers.

Location, location.

Map of Phase 2 deconfinementIf the restaurant is lucky enough to front a wide space or a wide sidewalk, tables may legally extend way beyond their normal space for now. Outside dining is de rigueur until Prime Minister Eduoard Philippe’s next status announcement  or until it rains.  Ile-de-France is one of three departments still “zone orange.” Ile-de-France, Guyane and the island Mayotte have too many new cases and too many people in Intensive Care Units. The next decision for any changes is June 22.

The tables must be at least 1 meter (3 feet) apart. I did not see anyone with a tape measure today. Restaurants may use a one-use only paper menu or laminated menus. A modern alternative is a QR code to read the menu on your phone. Download that QR code reader today! You must wear a mask when not eating or drinking. I saw a lot of mask-free faces.

All in all the Parisians seem very happy with this new level of activity. In theory some streets will go pedestrian to allow tables to extend into the streets.