Newspapers

Parisian man, newspaper

Parisian man, newspaper

Le Comptoir des Saints-Peres

Lux Bar

Café de Flore

Overwhelmingly, Parisians are readers. You’re more likely to see someone on the bus reading a paperback than you are thumbing through their phones. (On the metro, it’s a different story, but that makes sense given that it’s underground, and there isn’t Paris outside the bus windows.) It’s usually the same line of paperbacks, too; Folio prints a wide range of titles in simple white covers, and their small size, affordable price, and the fact that they are readily available in all 8000 of the bookshops in Paris, make them a popular choice. But when they aren’t reading books, in parks and bars and boulangeries, Parisians like les journaux. It’s a stark contrast to America, where the newspaper industry has been dying a slow and tormented death for years (let me tell you, majoring in Journalism was pretty bleak near the end). It was refreshing to see a young couple at breakfast, each absorbed in a newspaper, rather than on their phones. A different, better kind of distraction. I didn’t realize the trend immediately, it was only as I was sorting through the thousand+ photographs that I noticed I had a lot of similar shots. And I know this selection makes it seem as though over older Parisians read the newspapers, and that might be true. Next time I’m in Paris (OH WHEN WILL THAT BE? I’ve been home for one week and two days and I am suffering hard from PPD: Post Paris Depression) I plan on doing a series of young people reading paperbacks.

PS. That lady at the bar? Jamal fell in love with her. She must have been, what, 70? And she strolled in to the bar at 6pm on a Saturday, a bouquet of flowers in one hand and her groceries in another, walked right up to the bar and ordered a pint of beer. She stood there, drinking and reading the paper, and she downed her drink faster than he did. I swear I saw Jamal eyeing my engagement ring with some quick mental gymnastics about how best to swipe it off me and propose to her.

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July 9, 2014 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 23

23 comments

  • It always depresses us to see couples (or worse! families!) out at dinner sitting across the table from each other, not talking, not engaged, but each face down on their phones. Now that being said, at dinner last night I sent a text and Cal looked something up, but it was part of a conversation we were all having. Is that okay? ;) But you’re right about newspaper readers and book readers. Where have they gone. Even I rely on my Kindle far more than I should.

    Your story about Jamal reminds me of my dad. I got texts from Rome after we’d left and he stayed on saying things like, “By the way, your new step mother’s name is Anna and she’s a tour guide. You’ll like her.”

    • That kills me!! The worst I’ve seen was a dad out with his son, maybe age 3 or 4, and the dad plopped an iPad in front of him and proceeded to stare out the window or at his phone without interacting with his kid at all. It still bothers me to this day, and it must have been two years ago. How lazy and horrible can you be? TALK TO YOUR KID.

      The more I hear about your dad the more I think our dads would have gotten along famously. My dad always joked he had a girlfriend named Trixie, a French, red-headed burlesque dancer who never shaved her underarms. “I’ll just make sure Trixie is gone by the time you get here.” xo

  • You know, I noticed the same thing when we were traveling in Argentina last December. Lots of people reading newspapers (way more than I see in the US) and not nearly as many absorbed in their phones and electronics. I also just saw a lot fewer iPhones in general, which was a nice change of pace coming from San Francisco!

    • The smartphone trend is making us dumber, I’m convinced. I was happy in Paris because my phone only worked on wifi, which meant that when I was out walking around (which was the majority of the day! at least 10 hours/day I was out of the house) I didn’t get messages or emails or anything. Which in turn meant I lost the reflex to check it every five minutes. It was refreshing!! I’ve tried to hold on to it since being back, and now I notice how many people are hooked on their phones. On the bus, at restaurants, everywhere. xo

  • first off that b/w photo, is gorgeous. it looks like it could have been taken 50 years ago, it has such a timeless quality and it’s as though and paris just radiates from it. amazing. absolutely stunning.

    we read a lot. fisher actually doesn’t want to get his license because he likes reading on the bus, it’s where he does most of his reading and he is afraid if he drove he’d read so much less. that is fine with me on so many levels! i tried not look quite as excited as i was when he told me this, but i was so proud and relieved! i think my bank account did a little cheer too :) the newspaper not so much. i buy the paper once a year and that’s on thanksgiving for the fun of looking at the ads. we do look at our phones while out to eat, but we are usually doing so to prove ourselves right and the other person wrong in a debate we are having. we like to deal in facts (and be right) xoxo.

    • Thanks, girl! That’s so incredibly sweet of you. And I love love love that Fisher doesn’t want give up reading in favor of driving! I’m one of the few people in my office who commutes by public transit (cars rule here, and in Paris is exactly the opposite!) and I loooove all the time I have to read in the mornings and after work. You should be so proud! That’s a cool kid you’ve got there :)
      We used to get the NYTimes on the weekends, for about a year or two, but they were so spotty with delivery that we were only getting it one or two weekends a month, and it wasn’t worth the hassle of having to call every time we missed a paper to get a credit…the whole thing was a headache, but I do miss us divvying up the sections on Sunday morning and tucking in with a big cup of tea. xo

  • Journaux, I love them ! De fois, quand je fais mes petites escapades en solo, sans enfants, sans mari, j’aime bien allé dans un café et lire le journal tranquillement. J’ai toujours aimé faire ça. Un café + journal = détente assure. tu est dans un boule. Curieusement, j’aime lire le journal dans les cafés mais pas chez moi…
    La dame avec “Le canard enchainé” es très charmant mais je ne pense pas un seule minute que Jamal va te quitté pour elle ;)
    PPD, c’est adorable! Mais bon, tu as ton mariage à organisé et la lune de miel. A mon avis ça va passer. Et quand tu l’attends de moins, Paris sera à nouveau à tes pieds ! xo

    • Haha, tes “petites escapades en solo” m’a fait sourire :) C’est intéressant, parce que j’aime lire le journal chez moi, mais pas dans les cafés! Ha. Oui, mon mariage et notre lune de miel sont les prochaines activites pour nous. Je ne peux pas attendre!! xo

  • oh you poor thing… still suffering with post paris depression…

    but still gallantly sharing with us, more of your wonderful photos!

    merci!!!!

    tessa~

    • Ha, of course!! The only cure to PPD is more Paris, bien sûr ;) xo

  • I love everything about newspapers: the smell, crisp sound of page turning, and the residue it leaves on your hands! PPD needs to be added to the DSM-5. I image you’re having a hard time tying not to dive into your photos (à la A-ha’s “Take on Me”).

    • I’m so happy someone else loves the sound of the paper! I don’t mind the residue, the inky glaze on your fingertips, while I’m reading, but the moment I’m done I need to wash my hands. It makes me crazy otherwise :) +10 points for an A-ha reference, Hillary!! xo

  • i remember last time i was in Paris everyone reading the paper or those thin magazine things. who says print is dead?

    • Ha, right? I think it might be dead on this side of the globe, but not elsewhere! xo

  • i have a big smile on my face reading about the lady at the bar. you are a wonderful story teller (duh) and i could read your tales of paris for days.

    • Ohh, merci you!! That’s so sweet. I’m happy you have more room for Paris stories, because I have more than I know what to do with!! xo

  • Their papers aren’t the clunky behemoths that ours are, I see. Sunday paper reading is still a ritual at my parents’ house, no little thanks go out to the NYT for that one (even if my pops says it’s a bit too liberal for him)

    • Yes, it seemed that they were more into the daily or smaller weekly papers than the enormous ones like the Sunday Times. We used to get that paper, and it came in two parts, with half the sections coming on Saturday, and the front section coming Sunday with the magazine section. I actually miss that ritual. xo

  • every time I’m in Paris I notice the same thing. people read a lot. also young people. another thing I love about life in Paris. and I miss it too. what would I give for a cool glass of rose right now, somewhere along the Seine, a bit of cheese and strawberries and a good story to read. heaven, no?

    • Ooh girl, you are speaking my language. Rosé at home doesn’t seem to have the same effect as it does in Paris. I wonder why that is? Next time I vow to join the party and read the newspaper at a café for a while. Do they read as much in Thailand or KL? xo

  • Third photo down is my favourite. As our Lateral waiter here says in English (the only word he knows), “Love-leee, love-leee, love-leee.”

    • Thanks, boo! Without sounding weird, as I was editing it I thought, “this reminds me of a Süsk photo!” Something about the colors, I guess! xo

  • You need to submit the black amd white one of the man holding a newspaper to a photography exhibit. It’s so amazing!