The Forgotten Parisian Smokers

A week after the Paris shootings, new videos have appeared online and in the Daily Mail. The first video is from security cameras inside the Casa Nostra  restaurant on Rue de la Fontaine-au-Roi, Paris, and shows the attack as it unfolded.

I was particularly interested in finding out how many people were inside the restaurant, and how many outside. Excluding the two staff at the bar, I counted 4 people inside, sitting at 2 tables. And I counted 7 people outside, 3 women and 4 men, sitting at 3 of the available 7 tables outside.


All the people inside had taken their coats off, and all the people outside were wearing coats. There were plenty of empty tables inside, so it wasn’t as if they couldn’t have come inside if they’d wanted to.

So why were 7 people sitting outside? Well, we know the reason, don’t we? They were smokers, and smoking inside restaurants and bars has been made illegal.

But the Mail doesn’t report it that way. Their article begins:

It is an unseasonably pleasant evening and some of the restaurant’s customers are eating or drinking on the terrace outside. At one table, to the right of the door looking out from the restaurant bar, sits a young woman in a chic trench coat. Her name is Lucille and she is having an al fresco supper with her boyfriend Quentin and another male friend.

At the other table on the left side of the door sit the two twenty-something women. All are regulars.

Inside the pizzeria only two tables are occupied at this hour.

Actually, it wasn’t an “unseasonably pleasant evening”. On the evening of 13 November, the sky had cleared, and temperatures were plummeting. It was around 9° C (48° F) in Paris by 10:30 pm local time. And there was a 10 mph wind blowing from the west.


That night Paris temperatures fell to 6°C, the coldest of the coming week.

In the video, when the shooting starts, two women outside the door duck under their table. And another woman (the Mail calls her Lucille) gets up and rushes inside. A bullet hole appears in the glass door as she approaches it, and there’s a bullet hole in her back (and maybe also her shoulder) which was probably received at the same time. One of her companions comes hurtling through the door behind her, apparently unhurt. The other seems to have been shielded by the large menu stand visible in the photo above. Two men on a side table first duck under their table, and then get up and run away down the road. Inside, everyone gets under their tables, and the staff crouch behind the bar.

The gunman then approaches the front door, and stops to try to shoot the two women crouching under their table, but either his gun jams or (more likely, since he’s already fired his gun quite a lot) it’s out of ammunition.

The woman hears what she later described as a click, click, click sound. She does not realise at that moment when her life hangs by a thread that it is the sound of her would-be executioner’s weapon either misfiring or out of ammunition.

The gunman walks away, and (probably) gets into a black car that has stopped outside, and which now slowly drives away past the Casa Nostra.

As far as I can make out, only two people were injured at the Casa Nostra, and nobody killed. Yet reports had said that 5 people were killed and 8 injured.

The answer to this is that there was another, larger restaurant a few yards away called the Café Bonne Biere, which had also been shot up. The two restaurants can be seen in the Google street view below:


The Café Bonne Biere had far more tables outside than the Casa Nostra’s seven. I counted 22 in all. It seems that it was here that several people were killed, not La Casa Nostra.

The second video, reported in yesterday’s Independent, appears to have been taken by a passer-by some minutes after the attack, when armed police have arrived, and there are what looks like 3 or 4 bodies lying under the outside tables nearest La Casa Nostra. Several tables and stools further along had been knocked over, suggesting that they were occupied when the shooting started, and the occupants scattered, knocking over tables as they did so.

So once again the casualties were almost certainly smokers sitting outside. There were plenty of tables inside the capacious Café Bonne Biere.


Some of the reporting seems to be inaccurate:

A few streets to the south, Mark Colclough, a psychotherapist, was walking with a friend. “We heard a firecracker and I looked around and I could see a man, and the position made it clear he was shooting.”

The gunman stood with his legs apart like a professional. “If you think of what a combat soldier looks like, that is it, just without the webbing.” Black boots, black trousers, a tight black jumper and a machine gun pointing into Casa Nostra, a pizzeria in the rue de la Fontaine.

“He killed three or four individuals who were sitting in the chairs in front of the café. We saw them get shot down. They fell off their chairs on to the ground.”

The gunman in the video is wearing a light-coloured jacket and trousers. And those people falling off their chairs were actually climbing under their tables.

It seems it was a similar story a few minutes earlier at Le Carillon, and a few minutes later at La Belle Equipe restaurant:


In these attacks, which were pretty much drive-by shootings, it was the smokers sitting outside that were the principal casualties. And they were only sitting outside because the law had “exiled them to the outdoors”.

Their blood is as much on the hands of Tobacco Control as anyone else.

About Frank Davis

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38 Responses to The Forgotten Parisian Smokers

  1. Smoking Lamp says:

    I have been wounding if Parisian cigarette sales have increased in the aftermath of the attack.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    If you look close you can see the ashtrays on the outdoor tables

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Their blood is as much on the hands of Tobacco Control as anyone else.

    Since we know ISIS beheads smokers and such its just as likely they picked that place as a target because smokers were outside.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      A Religious War on Smoking

      Posted on June 17, 2014 by Frank Davis

      A few days back, the prohibition of tobacco and alcohol in Iraq by Muslim extremists raised the question of whether Western antismoking organisations would support such measures.

      H/T Harley, it would seem that at least one Muslim group in Indonesia was getting funding from a Michael Bloomberg-owned organisation in 2010:

      An organization owned by the mayor of New York City has channeled over US$390,000 to Muhammadiyah as part of a global anti-tobacco campaign, but the country’s second largest Islamic organization denied the funding influenced its recent edict banning smoking.

      A. Fattah Wibisono, a deputy secretary at Muhammadiyah’s council tasked with issuing religious edicts, acknowledged that his organization was cooperating with the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, a philanthropic organization established in 2006 by Michael R. Bloomberg to fight tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries…

      The Bloomberg Initiative says on its website,, its program with Muhammadiyah aims “to mobilize public support towards obtaining religious policy on tobacco control and to support FCTC [Framework Convention on Tobacco Control] accession”.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Jihadi Militants Ban Smoking And Guns In Conquered Territories

        In a major coup for public health and safety the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has banned smoking, alcohol, and guns in the provinces it conquered just days ago, the International Business Times reports.

        The Sunni militant group, which seized control of Iraq’s second largest city Thursday and is pushing toward Baghdad, “has a surprisingly sophisticated bureaucracy,” according to the Atlantic. “In Raqqa, they forced shops to close for selling poor products in the suq (market) as well as regular supermarkets and kebab stands—a move that was likely the work of its Consumer Protection Authority office.”

        ISIS explained its opposition to smoking back in January after conquering the Syrian province of Raqqa, calling it a “slow suicide” and saying that “every smoker should be aware that with every cigarette he smokes in a state of trance and vanity is disobeying God.”

        Approximately 40% of male Iraqis and 60% of male Syrians smoke, according to recent surveys.

        Smoking is not categorically banned in Islam, although some Islamic leaders have issued tobacco fatwas prohibiting cigarette and hookah consumption — possibly under the influence of foreign anti-tobacco NGOs.

        The Iraqi government had repeatedly tried and failed to institute smoking bans in public places, much to the ire and confusion of many Iraqis. ”We want Saddam back,” said one Iraqi in 2009, when the government first tried to bass the pan. “You could do anything during Saddam’s time.” As the Washington Post noted at the time, the ban was likely motivated by a desire “to shake off Iraq’s image as a battle-ravaged, lawless country.”

        The militants have gained control of the region with astonishing celerity, taking cities in fractions of the time it took US forces during the Iraq War. “Tuesday saw ISIS overrun Mosul in one night as security forces fled the city,” noted National Journal correspondent Kaveh Waddell. “The coalition campaign to take the city in 2004 took over a week and failed to stabilize the city.”

        Smoking bans are increasingly popular in the United States, with an estimated 80% of Americans living under a ban in “workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars,” according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. “If you want to live longer and healthier…come to New York City,” said Mayor Bloomberg in 2011, crowing about the increased life expectancy of NYC residents in the years after his landmark smoking ban. Maybe that’s what the Jihadis had in mind.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Smoking is not categorically banned in Islam, although some Islamic leaders have issued tobacco fatwas prohibiting cigarette and hookah consumption — possibly under the influence of foreign anti-tobacco NGOs.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          NGOs that means Bloomberg and Gates besides the UN and the who

        • The Blocked Dwarf says:

          Smoking is not categorically banned in Islam,

          A fact that currently has German tobacconists ‘needing a kleenex.’

          Ach vot a freund ve haff in Isis….

  4. slugbop007 says:

    This could be the start of something big:
    Gas stations could lose their licenses if they don’t conform to the City Council’s new regulation.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

  6. Pingback: Paranoider Raucherwahnsinn | Netzwerk Rauchen & Co. - Die Raucherlobby unter Beobachtung

  7. Peter Rachow says:

    I’ve rarely read disgusting stuff like this crap. Makes me physically sick! Innocent people have been slaughtered by a bunch of islamistic idiots and all that you do is exploiting their deaths for your filthy nicotine addiction.Shame on you!

    BTW: In my opinion you’re completely insane. See your doctor! Fast!

    • jltrader says:

      filthy nicotine addiction….what a brainwashed moron you are Rachow

    • Barry Homan says:

      Fuck off and die, and take your nazi friends with you

      • smokingscot says:

        Seems our Pete gets his rocks off reading websites he doesn’t much like – and spends time naming and shaming them.

        Should you ever wish to waste a few minutes Google’ll translate his blog and his reasons for having it.

        The essential nature of his rather banal argument is that Frank’s “exploiting” a situation that is in fact 100% accurate. We have personal experience of this – sitting outside in less than perfect weather.

        Pete Babe doesn’t. He likes to ride his bicycle and he does his diving and writes a whole stack of blogs. His body is a temple, a work of art – and nothing bad ever gets swallowed, lest he messes up on his life everlasting. He really does love himself something awful.

        So it really boils down to the fact that – in his opinion – anyone who is forced to sit outside only does so because he or she happens to be addicted to nicotine or – even worse – may in fact be friends with someone who smokes.

        Naturally I disagree with his opinion of Frank; I feel he’s a rather level headed individual whose industry and tolerance is quite remarkable and – unlike Poor Wee Pete – doesn’t write because he’s paid to do so, and never attempts to inflate his visitor numbers.

        Seems Pete The Interloper missed, or probably overlooked, Frank’s post about two smokers who were indeed killed because People Like Pete don’t much like having to wash their hair.

        (Maybe if we apply the squeal test that Chapman rabbits on about, then it’s probable these swivel-eyed-loons see this as a potential threat to their one size fits all “solution”).

    • Joe L. says:

      If reading one man’s observation makes you “physically sick” then it is you who should see your doctor, Mr. Rachow. You have a filthy smoker-bashing addiction.

      • Some French bloke says:

        “If reading one man’s observation makes you “physically sick” then it is you who should see your doctor”

        No need for a professional opinion: these symptoms have ‘Morbus Rachow’ written all over them! Fortunately, benevolent pro-smoking bloggers like Frank are persistently working on finding a cure. When they finally do, there’ll be egg on millions of sanctimonious busibodies’ faces. If they manage to wash it off, some of them will at last be able to enjoy their first-ever taste of sanity.

    • John Watson says:

      Mister Rachow, firstly if you felt physically sick after reading this blog that is your problem, you chose to read it, no-one held a gun to your head and made you do so I have no sympathy for self inflicted wounds.
      Secondly no-one voluntarily sits outside when the temperature is at 6 degrees Celsius or nearly freezing if you take wind chill into account, People like you support laws that recklessly endanger people, the actions of ISIS highlight how wrong these laws are, if these laws were not in place the casualty rate on such a cold night would have been far fewer than they were.
      Thirdly your obsession with penalising smokers be it by forcing them outside or excessive taxation aids and abets the enemy, it gives them easy targets and as smokers turn to the black market forced by taxation it gives ISIS financial aid I hope you are proud Mister Rachow your support of anti-smokers helps our enemies.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Fact the indoor smoking ban forced smokers out of doors and into harms way from many sources check the smokers graveyard it has plenty of varying ways smokers met death due to the bans. Now we can add terrorist attacks to the list!

  8. The lack of concern for the dangers caused by smoking bans are routinely ignored. Here’s a news story from 2011 about a college campus ban here in the US:

    You’ll note the comment at the end by the Chief of Campus Security:

    “Taylor said he doesn’t think the Griz Personal Safety staff should be used to escort smokers.
    ‘The whole intent of the ban is to get people to stop smoking,’ he said.”

    The same lack of caring is evidenced in this news story about a balcony collapse at a California student building where indoor smoking was almost certainly banned:

    – MJM

  9. The Blocked Dwarf says:

    I commented on Herr Obergesundheitsgauleiter Rachow’s blog (the usual rabid and particularly Germanic style of ravings and not worth the translating unless you’re into the whole Third Reich ‘pure mind in an athletic body’ thing). However my comment , for some strange reason, does not appear on the site….I wonder why….
    Anyways incase Rachow decides to sully his eyeballs by reading here again, my comment was:
    “Herr Professor Astel lässt grüßen aus der Hölle”

    It’s a shame really because from Herr Rachow’s command of both English and German he sounds quite intelligent and well educated but his ‘about this blog’ page indicates he is suffering from some form of paranoid illness….apparently the Lizard Men Smokers are out to gag him…he sees himself very much as a Warrior of Truth and Light and , above all, CLEAN air.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      He just wants to be a NAZI again in the new 4th reich the EU is trying to create! Fuck him.

      His kind can put a 32 cal pistol to their heads too anytime they want like their Fuhrer did!

    • smokingscot says:

      Yup and so was Andreas Lubitz (he who decided to fly a Germanwing aircraft into the side of a mountain).

    • Dwarf, he is likely suffering from ASDS (AntiSmokers’ Dysfunction Syndrome) See for more info (And to Mr. Rachow: see it in hope of getting some help for your condition.)

      – MJM

      • The Blocked Dwarf says:

        I’m neither German nor Jewish but when Germans start spouting Astel flavoured pseudo science or as in Gruppenfuehrer’s Rachows’s case actually defending Hitler then all i hear is :„Der Tabak ist ein
        Volksfeind wie Jud Süß. Behandeln wir ihn ebenso!”
        (means “tobacco is an enemy of the people just like The Jew ‘Sweet’. We will treat him[tobacco] the same way!”)

        Reading Rachow leaves me with a BAD taste in my mouth that even the very strong cigarettes I smoke can barely dent.

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