I expect the principle purpose of this BBC piece on the supposed decline of French bistros was to give the author a week in Paris on expenses. This bit made me hoot (emphasis mine):
“The bistro bar is a place of exchange, of conversation, a way of life,” he explained at his own Paris bistro Le Mesturet. “You can have a blue-collar worker elbow-to-elbow with a CEO and an office worker, sharing a coffee, a glass of wine, discussing everything and nothing. Anyone can afford bistro prices, erasing all socio-economic lines.”
A beer in a Parisian bistro will set you back around 10 or 12 euros. If two of you have a cup of coffee and a pastry each you’ll not got much change from 20 euros. When I was last in Annecy I thought the waiter had made a mistake on my bill I was so used to astronomical prices in Paris. I get the impression the bistro owners might not be aware of the country outside Paris, and a BBC journalist over from London is the last person who’d be in any hurry to find out.