18 MARCH 2006, Page 26

Where trendy Parisians go

From Daniel T. Perkins

Sir: I agree with Allister Heath’s view of the Imprimerie Nationale and the passport debacle (‘300,000 Frenchmen can’t be wrong’, 11 March), but the remainder of his article is unfair. Rather than being hemmed in by posters of Michael Jackson and Tom Cruise, the streets of Paris are lined with ads for domestic films, lingerie and Johnny Hallyday. Meanwhile the branches of Starbucks in Paris are full not of trendy young French things but of American tourists who, having travelled 3,000 miles to gawp at Parisian architecture or tick off EuroDisney on their list of ‘visited’ theme parks, prefer a coffee shake in an American chain to trying a genuine café. Anyone with an ounce of ‘trendiness’ will be found in the very cafés Mr Heath claims are disappearing in the largely tourist-free 10th and 20th arrondissements. And in France Gauloises are not so much being squeezed out by Marlboro Lights as being stubbed out entirely, as cigarettes are throughout Europe.

Daniel T. Perkins Paris