Honestly, it must be a living hell to be Malcolm Gladwell. Coiffing the extravagant hair every morning. Constantly interrupted by the hoi polloi expressing their un-dieing gratitude. Besieged by book authors. Gladwell gives readers of The Wall Street Journal a glimpse into one aspect of his wretched life: Trying to write in coffee houses around the world.
What of Paris? There are, famously, Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore on the Left Bank. Very early on, while my café philosophy was still a work in progress, I will admit to have written there—amidst the sea of Vassar girls with their Gitane cigarettes and their Thomas Mann. Then I came to my senses and moved on to the much more congenial Chez Prune, just off the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th Arrondisement—only to find a sea of Vassar girls with their Gitane cigarettes and their Thomas Mann. How many Vassar girls are there, anyway? My advice: write in your hotel room. [link to story]Publish
Yes. Back to your rooms, ladies. Those of you from Smith and Barnard can remain. By the way, where did you get those Gitanes? They haven't been available in Paris since 2005. Gladwell's list of cafes includes entries from New York, Zurich, London, the aforementioned Paris and Toronto.