This evening, around 9:30 p.m., I crossed Place du Commerce and walked by La Coquille, a very centrally located bar/newsstand. Everybody in Nantes knows it because it is the only place where you can buy cigarettes late at night and on Sundays or during bank holidays. I’m not sure why they stay open when every other bar-tabac is closed. Did they bribe officials? Who cares. As usual, there was a huge lineup of smokers waiting for their fix—Lucky Strike, Marlboro, Camel or Gauloise.
It made me smile. I didn’t need to join the lineup but I’m sure I did queue a few times. French are notoriously bad at planning ahead. We know most shops close at 7 p.m., that supermarkets close at 8 p.m., that few places are open on Sundays and during holidays… yet, we still shop at the last minute.
This is a long weekend in France. Tomorrow, on August 15, Catholics will celebrate the Assumption of Mary, and the rest of us will roam around the city, looking for that one opened bakery to buy a baguette.
And cigarettes, of course.