Across the French capital, restaurant and café owners are dismantling the temporary terraces they were allowed to install back in May, after their permits expired on Sunday.
Last year, as businesses gradually started to reopen after the Covid-19 lockdown, City Hall allowed businesses to stretch their outdoor terraces onto the pavement or the street to allow more outdoor socialising.
Initially introduced as a temporary measure, the terrasses éphémères (temporary terraces) proved very popular, and in June City Hall announced they would be allowed to become permanent, though not all year round.
They will be allowed to return every summer as terrasses estivales (summer terraces), starting in April 2022.
The authorisation from the City Hall runs out on Monday, November 1st. Businesses who wish to reinstall them will be allowed to do so from April 1st 2022, and will be charged a fee.
According to Franck Delvaux, president of the hospitality industry union, the measure “saved the season for many businesses that didn’t have a terrace, or just three or four tables,” he told Franceinfo.
Last summer, the number of terraces in the capital doubled. “For more than 15,000 establishments, there used to be just 6,000 terraces, and now there are 12,000 summer terraces,” he said.
Some have called for the terraces to be made permanent year-round. Chef Yves Camdeborde, who owns five restaurants and four wine bars in Paris and Bordeaux, said they had become “vital”.
“We need them to continue to address the fact that we had to close due to Covid. It is essential,” he told RTL radio, adding that they had allowed him “to add 30 place settings” in his restaurants.
Some businesses depend on them so much that have even refused to give them up, but Delvaux said he didn’t think this will work. “I don’t think they will do it. There will be checks anyway.”
However, not everyone was entirely happy with the terraces. Some residents have even expressed relief at them coming to an end. Though they are only allowed to stay open until 22pm, many residents complained about the noise.
“Finally,” wrote one Twitter user. “Sleeping whenever we want to. Opening the windows in the evening. Walking on the pavement. Even with a pushchair. Finally.”
Re-dormir quand on en a envie.
Ré-ouvrir ses fenêtres le soir.
Re-marcher sur tous les trottoirs. Même avec une poussette.
— Vance (@jessicavancecom) October 31, 2021
Other cities across France have also authorised extended terraces, but rules on when they are allowed to remain until vary. In Lille, they had to close on September 30th. In Lyon, the City Hall has extended the permit until the end of the year, while in Toulouse they are allowed to stay in place until March.