Le Canon de Tolbiac

October 8, 2002 - 6:30 p.m.

This is the third "Canon" café I've seen in this part of town. I'll have to look the word up, but it looks a lot like "cannon," though that doesn't make much sense for the name of a café. There's no artillery going off here, just the murmer of a few conversations, the slightly overloud sound of the radio, and flipper noises from the two guys in the corner playing the Playboy pinball game. And now a loud sound from the bar like a dentist's suction tube. But no cannons.

My table is square, wood, and the chairs are wooden as well, cherry-stained. The espresso came with a packet of sugar cubes and, remarkably, the nearby black plastic ashtray doesn't have any advertising printed on it.

There are a few thin round mirrored columns about the place, and in the middle, raised up over the stairs heading down to the restrooms, is a potted fern whose heights brush the ceiling and whose depths neighbor smaller, flowered plants that may or may not be real.

A parade of sirened police vehicles makes its way down one of the busy streets outside, the sound muffled by the row of closed windows and doors of the café. It's getting darker and colder every day.

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Le Canon de Tolbiac
Metro: Tolbiac

Price of an espresso: 2 euros
Sugar: packet of sugar cubes

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