Tabac du Châtelet

July 3, 2002 - 11:30 a.m.

There is a great atmosphere here. The tables and chairs are real wood and comfortable. The place is nicely lit, subtle against the dark tables, chairs and floor, the walls reddish and the ceiling orangish. Pop hits, mostly from the 80's, play on the radio, including a U2 song (either "New Year's Day" or "Two Hearts"), the Cure's "Just Like Heaven," the song "One Night In Bangkok," George Michael with "I Want Your Sex," the new Sheryl Crow song, and the Rolling Stones singing "Start Me Up." It's a nice size café, a fair number of people here, but the place is not crowded. Now Sting and Cheb Mami are singing their duet, "Desert Rose." All this and a cigarette counter too.

It's raining outside. My coffee cup is blue and the saucer is blue-violet. The ashtray is clear glass. A little Pago fruit juice stand is on my table clasping the menu and a Pago fold-up ad that is almost wedged in too tight to look at. Pago is "pure pleasure," I'm told. I was given a packet of three sugar cubes with which to better enjoy my espresso.

It just brightened up remarkably outside, as if the sun were getting ready to make its first appearance of the day. One of the little white lights that illuminate my group of tables periodically goes on and then off after a while like an incredibly slow flashing Christmas light. My pants and socks are still wet from the trip here, but I'm happy. Coincidentally, REM's "Shiny Happy People" is playing at the moment.

In front of me a little curly-haired girl wears green plastic glasses and sucks on a pacifier, while her black leather jacketed mom smokes a cigarette.

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Tabac du Châtelet
8 rue Saint Denis
75001 Paris
Metro: Châtelet
Price of an espresso: 1.90 euros
Sugar: packet of 3 sugar cubes

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