The typical French café is in danger of disappearing. Already there are only 45,000 bistros left in France – a fifth of the number 30 years ago. And at least 5,000 owners are planning to sell up during the next 12 months. If the trend continues they will soon all either have closed down, become theme bars or been swallowed up by large chains. Bistros have been hit by campaigns against drink-driving and strict gaming regulations which restrict pinball, fruit machines and even table football. They face another threat from possible new laws banning smoking in public places. The Observer 11/06/06 page 34

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