Le Parisien reports that the French are buying fewer yoghurts, luxury chocolate bars and lignettes, those disgusting use-it-once-and-throw-it-away wipes. There’s a new magazine for comsum’acteurs* called Tips, selling at the introductory price of 0.9 Euros and containing coupons to clip as well as, of course, tips: the French are enjoying their crise.
I eat, un-crise-ingly, at Mamashelter Restaurant, where I'm staying, in hipster Belleville. In the lobby, French women air-kiss making an inward suck of air sounding like a crackle of electric static. The hotel sells La Crise m'a volé mes Pépitos (The Credit Crunch stole my comic books?) kids’ T-shirts. Naturally they cost 35 Euros. We smoke on the restaurant's external terrace overhanging the railway lines. Later, we miss something across the street at ex-railway station club, La Flèche d’Or.
From the terasse in the spring dusk, I can see the Belleville skyline. Someone (perhaps planning a crise-time mariage?) has set a mini-marquee on a roofgarden. A minute bus called la traverse de charonne, about the size of a people carrier, turns a corner by the Casque d'Or historical sign. I've seen these buses in Montmartre, where they wind through the tiny streets unserved by other public transport, but never in Belleville. I guess it's here for the same reason.
Next morning, I leave the expensive candy in the hotel lobby to look for a café. I glance into the hotel restaurant and see the banks of breakfast lying unattended. Hotel breakfasts always a) too expensive, b) too filling, and c) too depressing. The sadness of Hotel life is particularly apparent at in daylight. I just had to look once at the glum American family who were the only people eating to leave. Too much food plus too few people is always a depressing equation. Gimme a destination populaire...
I find a local café, l’Abribus* on rue de Bagnolet, which I immedately adopt as my temporary café de coin. They play 60s Rolling Stones at 9am. Cool. "Non, Madamoiselle." says the waiter - note the '-oiselle': must be my new leather jacket - "Nous n'avons plus des croissants".
So no croissants: so much money saved. I order a crise crème. Possibly the cheapest crème I've ever ordered in Paris. At least in a bar I'd like to sit in.
comsum’acteurs* - consumer activists. I found this in the Parisien. Has anyone heard it elsewhere or did they coin it?
L'Abribus - the bus shelter.