Travel

May 31

I was unaccountably depressed by the ascendancy of the nons in the Sunday referendum on the European Union constitution. It wasn't even close: 55% for no, 45% for yes. I went to my newsstand to buy the paper so I could read all about it. But the stand was locked up tight, with a handwritten note saying the proprietor was on strike over low commissions, among other things. Perfect.

Feeling ill-used, I decided I needed a cheeseburger. After buying a copy of Le Figaro from a man standing at the steps of the Métro, I went to the Café Basile on Rue de Grenelle. With the vaunted French political science institute Sciences Po around the corner, the cafe is a student hangout.

While I waited for my lunch, I flipped through a special section of the paper showing how the vote went by region. If Parisians were in charge of the country, the EU charter would have passed handily. The city voted oui, 66%; non, 34%. A young guy at the next table gave me a thumbs-up sign and said, "80% in the 7th," referring to the fact that my neighborhood, in the 7th arrondissement, went oui in larger numbers than any other. Together with the cheeseburger, that made me feel marginally better.

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