BISTRO: ANTIQUE-MODERN AND PUBLIC-PRIVATE
For the non-place theorist, Marc Augé, the bistro keeps all its – identity, historical and relational – characteristics typical of the “place”
In his book “An ethnologist at the bistro,” the French ethnologist and anthropologist describes the bistro as a national symbol, in between public and familiar ambiance, where the spaces composing it reflect such division, with the counter seen as an expression of the public frivolity and the tables as domestic intimacy.
But at the end, the bistro is just this, a mixture of public and private, so intimate to let you order a simple glass of wine at the counter, or formal enough (at least for what concerning modern bistros) to let you taste a “tartare with Parmesan mousse and egg-yolk.”
The gourmet cuisine, in fact, is getting closer the simple bistro and this approach can be healthy.
The most rustic characters of the bistro are becoming more sophisticated while the snob side of the haute cuisine is sweetening.
So, now, the modern attendance of this kind of business is becoming a melting-pot and culinary experience where tradition has renewed itself through an old and slow “future coming from the past.”
But if you are still used to old bistro just like Marc Augè, don’t despair. It won’t be easy to find them, and you will need to go to the source, but no worries! The Ville Lumière has lights enough for you as well.
This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)