10/15/2013 06:56 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Paris Journal II: Le Petit Fumeur


Only in Paris can you find Le Petit Fumer, a shop which specializes in "la cigarette electronique." If you fell in love with those classic shots of Camus and Picasso, cigarettes dangling out of their mouths, when you were an impressionable young francophile, but are now trying to kick habit, Le Petit Fumeur is for you. The attractions are listed the minute you walk into the store "la sante" (health), "70% economie," "pas de tabaqisme passif" (no innocent sufferers from your smoking), "le service client" and "le qualite." This new kind of smoking even has an endorsement from The Economist which is quoted as saying: "Le monde devrait accueiller la cigarette electronique" (the world must welcome electronic cigarettes). Now smokin' Thai women have a more exotic solution which is to light up from another orifice, but if you less adventurous yet want to live a certain style of life without suffering the consequences, Le Petit Fumeur offers an alternative. Always heeding what we might call "l'appel hedonistique" the French have found their way around the stoic suffering that addictive American smokers have to endure. An fashionably attired woman walking out of the Sevres Bablylon Metro stop wearing bright red lipstick and a camel hair coat already had her unlit cigarette in hand as she talked animatedly into her headset. She looked like a computer printout for the kid of customer Le Petit Fumeur is looking for.

(Photograph: Hallie Cohen)

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}