Paris cafes, restaurants partially reopen post-lockdown

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A couple enjoy a meal in a restaurant of Lille, northern France, Tuesday June 2, 2020. The French way of life resumes Tuesday with most virus-related restrictions easing as the country prepares for the summer holiday season amid the pandemic. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

PARIS – Parisians who have been cooped up for months with takeout food and coffee can savor their steak tartare in the fresh air and cobbled streets of the City of Light once more — albeit in smaller numbers.

The city famed for its vibrant cafe society and coffee culture got some of its pre-lockdown life back as cafes and restaurants partially reopened Tuesday.

Paris City Hall authorized the use of outside seating areas but indoor tables remain closed to customers until at least June 22.

French President Emmanuel Macron struck a note of optimism about the small step.

“The reopening of cafes, hotels and restaurants marks the return of happy days!” he tweeted, added that “the state will continue to support this sector.”

Up and down the popular rue Montorgueil, few wore masks and dozens flocked to terraces for lunch in the sun.

Fiona Taieb, manager of the local Cevicheria fish restaurant, said she felt hopeful that this partial re-opening could help restaurants after the sluggish start to the year.

“We’re hoping the French feel like going out, and enjoy themselves and forget about these difficult times,” she said.