Le Bastille

September 24, 2002 - 2:30 p.m.

The thick, wood-panelled rectangular column to my left has the words "bar night & day" upon it; above the words a cylindrical lamp is fastened to the column by an L-joint that connects to the bottom of the cylinder. Other cylindrical lights hang from the slightly slanting windows above me. On my right side is another row of windows looking out towards the Fnac and Opera Bastille buildings. Behind me heavy brown curtains hang between me and the entrance to the café.

The place is busy. I'm in a drinking section and there is an eating section on the other side of the entrance. Deeper into the place are more tables, and I think there is an upstairs as well.

The chair backs are wooden, more or less half-cylinders that encase thick round seat cushions resting on little bulbous wooden feet. The tabletops are round, composed of slightly varied 3/4" strips of wood laid side by side. The ashtray is clear glass, as is my water glass. My espresso cup and saucer are white, as is the tube of powdered sugar with "S U C R E" written across it in hip, generic lettering.

The heaters are turned on inside and outside, though the sun has just emerged from the previously gratuitous cloud cover. A woman struggles by on the sdewalk under the weight of at least two backpacks. She is wincing as if in pain, and her left forearm is completely missing, or maybe it was never there to begin with.

When I arrived, there was a long-haired man sitting within earshot, making million dollar business decisions on his cell phone. At one point he said "They told me one thing and now you're telling me something else. What I want to know is where does your loyalty lie?" He punctuates his sentences with expletives that cause a nearby French woman to look at him condescendingly. Or maybe she's just grimacing because of the neck brace she's wearing (which she later removes). She fiddles some with a Palm Pilot, talks to the woman she's with, and then they leave to be replaced by two slightly older French women. People come and go all the time, the café remains busy, and in places the walls, furniture, and floor dance with the sun shining through the moving branches of the trees outside.

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Le Bastille
Metro: Bastille

Price of an espresso: 2.60 euros
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar
Bonus: glass of water

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Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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