If any part of society in any land thrives around the clock, it's the Internet subculture - thus the half a dozen 24-hour Internet cafés in Paris, each of which is fronted with a bold orange-andwhite exterior with a giant milk bottle. The sign outside reads Milk Internet Hall (slogan: "Milk: Your World in a Bottle"), and, in English, the offer (or command): "surf work mail play." Inside, rows of zombies are seated on orange chairs before flat-screen monitors, surfing, gaming, and tapping, tapping, tapping; the scene could be the newsroom at the Robot Daily Tribune. Says the guy at the desk: "Some of them sit down during the evening and stay all night. We have free Skype service, so tourists come at all hours to talk to their families at home on a different clock."

Carrying your own laptop? If it freezes or goes dark and no amount of rebooting or battery jiggling revives it, you're just a phone call away from a techie at Ordigood. After midnight, the usual fees for an on-site job are doubled: The minimum service call becomes 100 euros, and virus disinfection will set you back 150 euros. You'll clench your teeth but be relieved to be back online.

Twenty-first century or not, sometimes you just have to mail something. And sometimes, perhaps, the call strikes at an odd hour. Need stamps for that card or package? The city's Poste Centrale, the centrally located main post office, is open throughout the night.