Coffee in the cold: France bans outdoor heating on café terraces

Audio 26:53
Sound Kitchen Podcast
Sound Kitchen Podcast RFI

This week on The Sound Kitchen, you’ll hear the answer to the question about one of France’s new anti-pollution initiatives. There’s Ollia’s Happy Moment, great music, and of course, the new quiz question. Just click on the “Audio” arrow above and enjoy!


Hello everyone! Welcome to The Sound Kitchen weekly podcast, published every Saturday – here on our website, or wherever you get your podcasts. You’ll hear the winners' names announced and the week’s quiz question, along with all the other ingredients you’ve grown accustomed to: your letters and essays, “On This Day”, quirky facts and news, interviews, and great music … so be sure and listen every week.

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Welcome to our new RFI Listeners Club members. DK Sarkar from Kolkata, India; Mervin Kensington from Windhoek, Namibia, and Ilyas Fachri from Sumatera, Indonesia.

So glad you have joined us!

To join the RFI Listeners Club, just write to me at and tell me you want to join, and I’ll send you a membership number. It’s that easy. When you win a Sound Kitchen quiz as an RFI Listeners Club member, you receive a premium prize.

This week’s quiz:  On 1 August I asked you a question about what the world calls “sidewalk cafés” but what the French call “terraces”. An announcement had just been made by France’s ecology minister, Barbara Pompili, about decisions taken by the government's Ecological Defence Council; RFI English journalist Michael Fitzpatrick wrote about one of those measures, the one which will affect the terraces, starting next winter. I asked you to tell me what that measure is.   

The answer is: France is going to ban heating on outdoor café terraces – not this coming 2020/2021 winter, next year’s. Some cities in France have already banned them as they are terribly polluting, but not Paris. The reason for the wait until next year is to give café owners time to recover from the COVID lock-down when they were forced to remain closed for 11 weeks. Although now cafés and restaurants are permitted to be open, social distancing measures haven’t allowed owners to fill up their restaurants and cafés and recuperate all that lost revenue from the lock-down. They count on their terraces, their sidewalk cafés, to be able to fill that gap.

In Paris alone, some 70 percent of cafe terraces are estimated to have heating devices. Michael Fitzpatrick wrote: “According to the ecology activist group Negawatt, one terrace with five gas heaters going all winter emits as much carbon dioxide as a car travelling 120,000 kilometers.”

The winners are: Minal Emaan, a member of the Pak France RFI International Listeners Club in District Sahiwal, Pakistan; Ferhat Bezazel, the president of the RFI Butterflies Club Ain Kechera in West Skikda, Algeria, and Ras Franz Manko Ngogo, the president of the Kemogemba RFI Club in Tarime, Mara, Tanzania. 

There are two RFI Listeners Club members on the list of lucky winners this week: Abu Hayat Kamal Murad from Natore, Bangladesh, and Zenon Teles for the Christian – Marxist – Leninist - Maoist Association of Listening DX-ers, in Goa, India.

Congratulations winners!

Here’s the music you heard on this week’s program: “Take the A Train” composed by Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington and performed by Duke Ellington and his orchestra;  “Accordeon sûr Seine”, written and performed by Daniel Jean Gustave Jeannin; “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and the fourth movement from Beethoven’s  Symphony No 3, performed by conductor Rebecca Tang and the Philharmonie de Paris.

Do you have a musical request? Send it to

This week’s question ... You'll have to listen to the show to participate. You have until 19 October to enter this week's quiz; the winners will be announced on the 24 October podcast. When you enter, be sure you send your postal address in with your answer, and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

Send your answers to:


Susan Owensby

RFI – The Sound Kitchen

80, rue Camille Desmoulins

92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux



By text … You can also send your quiz answers to The Sound Kitchen mobile phone. Dial your country’s international access code, or “ + ”, then 33 6 31 12 96 82. Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your text – and if you have one, your RFI Listeners Club membership number.

To find out how you can win a special Sound Kitchen prize, click here

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