In Paris, the town hall juggles between pedagogy and fines to eradicate heating on the terrace


The heated terrace of a café in Paris, on February 13, 2018, in Paris.

Sitting next to his zinc, a chihuahua lying on his knees, the boss of the brasserie Chez Louis, in the 10e district of Paris, grumpy. “We take it as a deliberate attack on the profession on the part of the Paris City Hall”, exclaims Yves, who prefers not to give his last name, looking at the extinguished braziers of his almost deserted outdoor terrace. The Climate law has prohibited the use of heating on uncovered terraces since March 31, 2022. In November, the Council of Paris went further by prohibiting the very presence of devices on terraces that are not entirely covered by a rigid veranda. .

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In the event of an infringement, traders can be fined between 1,500 and 3,000 euros per device switched on. For a brazier not dismantled, they also risk a fine for “irregular occupation of the public domain”, calculated according to the area of ​​their exterior. He has not yet received a fine, but Yves concedes: “The tax, we know we will take it. » The boss of Saint-Louis had recently invested in two additional wood pellet heaters for his terrace, but he had to remove them after a municipal official warned him. “What could be more ecological though? »he laments.

A few streets away, the small radiators of the Renaissance bistro glow above the customers seated. Behind rigid walls and under a thick canvas, the covered terrace winks at passers-by. But the device is expensive: “15,000 euros rental” paid out each year by the manager, Nacer Safer.

So, in front of his three other establishments, the owner had the heaters removed rather than covering the terraces to be able to keep them. According to him, the application of the ecological measure is “too harsh” for merchants, in remission from the period of health restrictions linked to the Covid-19 epidemic, and whose expenses have increased with inflation. “In winter, with the braziers, we made an average of 2,000 euros in turnover per evening for a 26-seat terrace. Now we are at 200 euros on Saturdays, he laments. That’s the price of a waiter for the evening, I had to fire people. »

110,000 tonnes of CO2 per year

Claimed for almost twenty years by elected environmentalists, the total ban on outdoor heating had already been adopted by the municipalities of Rennes (January 2020) or Lyon (July 2021) before being integrated into the Climate law. In Paris, the reinforced measure is added to a series of restrictions around energy sobriety, such as the cessation of air conditioning on the terrace since the summer of 2022, which is very energy-intensive.

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