A French bistro and the British pub
One of the first images that might come to mind when thinking of Britain is the pub. For centuries it has been the centre of cultural and social life. Yet the humble pub is now changing fast. According to the Campaign for Real Ale, pubs are closing at a rate of 12 per week. But there is a new trend that might be breathing life into Britain’s pub – the surprising flowering of small microbreweries. Jake Wallis Simons finds out that some of the most interesting ones are being run by women.
Across the Channel, John Laurenson found himself at a loose end in the middle of the French countryside, so he resolved to find that endangered species of French life – a bistro. There were 200,000 bistros in France in 1960 – and only 35,000 today. But it’s still a place where you can sit down, order a kir, and watch the world and the odd characters of a small French village wander by.