A stylish woman uses a magnifier glass to read the newspaper on an outside terrace of a Parisian café. France has 14 daily newspapers, among them the populist, right-of-center Le Parisien, which is the largest in the country with a circulation of around 500,000.
Paris – Been There

A lady, a dog, and what Paris is all about

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Paris – Been There A lady, a dog, and what Paris is all about

In a residential quarter behind Montmartre, near the Jules Joffrin Metro, Café La Timbale exists as a kind of a city within a city.

Tara Isabella Burton
Tara Isabella Burton Travel Writer

During the four days I spend staying with a friend nearby, drinking four-euro café au lait in the morning, three-euro merlot at night, I spy the same Montmartre regulars, over and over. The couple kissing in the corner. The world-weary men rolling their eyes at the bar. The young couple with the large labrador dog.

But nobody garners attention like the sour-faced old woman who strides in during my first evening in Paris, cursing at the waiters at one of the best restaurants in Paris. How dare they allow a dog into the establishment! He’s a danger, a menace. And the tables – they’re all wobbly – it’s a disgrace!

The waiters try to placate her; their tight, indulgent smiles, suggest they’ve done this before. They confer in a corner while the old woman mutters more oaths at the dog, hitting it slightly on the nose once, then twice, then more softly...

The waiters return and resignedly offer to remove the dog.

“Don’t you dare!” she insists, stroking his fur. He’s a nice dog, the sweetest dog in the world. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.

The state of the tables, though, is appalling. She’s furious. She may never return.

The next morning, I see her sitting outside the café, sipping her au lait. She’s brought a folding table from home.

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