“The bar of a cafe is the parliament of the people,” Honoré de Balzac once wrote. First it was the outdoor smoking ban, and now this: The New York Times is reporting that “Across France, Cafe Owners are Suffering.” According to the New Times, had 200,000 cafes in 1960 and now it has fewer than 41,500, with an average of two closing every day. The economic downturn – and changing attitudes, to be sure – are hurting traditional cafes. What is to become of the Paris I know?Since my first trip to Paris at the age of 12, then as a rebellious backpacker at 18, then as an optimistic university student in London at 21 then as a married woman years later, to me the iconic cafe has epitomized everything that is good about Paris — a refuge for artistic souls, a hangout for chain smokers, a clandestine rendezvous […]