Paris’ outdoor pandemic dining is here to stay

After over a year of dining outdoors, many people have come to love the experience of enjoying a meal in what would otherwise be a busy street or parking lane. Closed streets and dining terraces have made our cities more human-friendly and in the city of lights, the change is here to stay. 

Parisians are so fond of temporary café terraces that the French capital has created new guidelines to allow cafés to keep their terraces up through the summer and for some, permanently. 

Under the new regulations, Paris’ 9,800 cafes, bars, and restaurants will be allowed to occupy three parking spaces in front of their business for “summer terraces.” Summer is defined as the beginning of April through the end of October. Businesses can extend this to include an annual terrace, as long as it does not occupy more than one parking spot. Florists, book, and record stores are also being encouraged to take their operations outdoors. 

Some residents are hesitant about the excess noise these terraces would generate, so the city has mandated that outdoor operations cease by 10 pm and no music will be allowed in these converted parking spaces. Sidewalks and bike lanes must still be accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, and for environmental reasons, the city has also banned the use of outdoor heaters. 

This policy change is helped by the already declining rate of private car ownership in the city. Excess parking has become so prevalent that some underground garages are being transformed into mushroom farms. 

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