I've been working for years on a fourteen-liner, and I don't know, but some reason tweaking it again today (probably because I introduced some details about the Bd. St Michel and a newsstand on the corner of the Bd St Germain) I thought, as yesterday with the street-sweepers, about how much things like corner newsstands, of which there are many in Paris, add to the texture of city life. I'd rather pick up my newspaper at a newsstand than have it delivered to my door. You look at all the papers and magazines on display, you exchange a few words and coins with the newsie, some of them grouchy, most friendly, maybe you sit down somewhere on a bench or in a cafe to read the paper, watch people, eavesdrop on their conversations. I remember years ago we tried having the paper delivered to our suburban home--Le Monde was promoting home delivery--but my husband liked buying it before his long Metro trip home at the end of the day. In the morning he worked on the Metro; at night he read the paper (there's an art to folding a broadsheet to read it in the confined space of a Metro seat).
Even in a small village you can do this, even in the absence of corner newsstands. In our village in the south of France the municipality subsidises a cafe, cum grocery, cum newsstand cum post office. It's small, it's friendly, there are always a few people standing at the counter drinking, others sitting at the half dozen tables in the back. Everybody probably knows too much about everybody else, they look at you curiously, summing you up, you look at them curiously.
But just look, in the pictures, at the street furniture, the newsstand kiosques, and their design. Will they all turn into images on our ipads?