” The cafe, the people’s parliament It’s Honoré de Balzac who says it and, these days, it’s high time to go and have a look. A rich idea that our friend Pierre Josse, editor-in-chief for 40 years of Le Routard, has been putting into practice for a long time: he no longer counts the number of bistros he has scoured in France to find and enjoy their warmth, hospitality and friendliness. And we understand it!
To pay homage to these places of life, the exhibition “Au bonheur des bistrots” presents until May 31, 2023 at the Paris City Hall of luminous black and white (of Pierre Josse) and attractive colors (of Pierrick Bourgault) in the 100×150 cm format of bistros across France. Under their lenses are revealed the appeal, the charm, the extremely varied personalities of these magical places, full of contained emotions and nice nostalgia assumed, but unfortunately threatened…
Places of life and sociability in danger
Because the figures are terrible: from 200,000 in 1960, bistros and cafes have fallen dramatically today to around 38,000… Victims of the desertification of the countryside and the disappearance of peasants, but also of the brutal sociological changes of the gentrified working-class neighborhoods, and new social and cultural habits where the screen is increasingly replacing human contact.
To make the public aware of this sad trend, Pierre and Pierrick participate in the Association for the recognition of the art of living in bistros and cafés in France as intangible cultural heritagewith a good number of coffee lovers, “resistant” professionals (bosses bistros, restaurateurs, winegrowers), elected officials, association leaders, researchers, sociologists…
The association, created by Alain Fontaine, organizes events, conferences, symposiums, various media interventions and the awarding of the medal of the city of Paris to the heroic bistro owners fighting to maintain the tradition. And soon, perhaps, a race of the waiters…
In the meantime, we won’t fail to stroll around the Hôtel de Ville in Paris before going to raise our elbows at the counter of one of these bars that the whole world envies us!
Until May 31 on the gates of the Hôtel de Ville de Paris and in the indoor gallery, 29, rue de Rivoli – 75004 Paris
More info online:
Paris City Hall