Wednesday, 9 September 2015


I had occasion to go into the Orange shop in Laval, and since there is a coffee shop just opposite, planned also to have a late breakfast and coffee.  My memory of the bar is of an old-fashioned typical French coffee bar/restaurant; slightly faded decor, dim lighting, and in particular, a loo on the other side of the corridor, that you have to ask the barman for a key for.

Wrong!  The place has been modernised: dramatic colour scheme, sensible lighting levels, comfortable furniture, disabled accessible toilets, mulitple named types of coffee and tea, and fancy pastries and tarts.  Two coffees and a little chocolate tart cost us just over 10 euros. I guess that you have to respond to changing markets, and the banning of ciggie smoking indoors has changed the clientelle for these kinds of places.

I find it's both good and bad.  I can see the point of making sure, for example, that modernised business premises are accessible to people with various kinds of disabilities, but do I not, as an able-bodied person, also have the right to enjoy quirky, difficult but characterful places where the loos are down the corridor, up the narrow spiral stairs and under the low beam?

1 comment:

James Higham said...

Character versus convenience is often the dilemma.

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