The Café de Flore Paris has earned the title “legendary” during it’s more than 130 years of serving clients and being gorgeous. Here are 12 fascinating facts about the enduring, much loved Café de Flore, Paris…
1. Café de Flore opened in 1880. The name is taken from a sculpture of “Flora”, the goddess of flowers. You can find this sculpture on the other side of Boulevard Saint Germain.
2. The interior is very classic Art Deco: red seating, mirrors and mahogany, the style has remained mostly unchanged since the Second World War.
3. It’s a place to see and be seen. Celebrities as well as tourists came here to enjoy a drink or lunch.
4. It’s also a popular place for writers and philosophers. Georges Bataille, Robert Desnos, Léon-Paul Fargue, Raymond Queneau were all regulars as was Pablo Picasso. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was known to be a frequent patron of Café de Flore during his years in France in the 1920s.
5. Café de Flore has been immortalized in movies and, songs:
– Appeared in the 1963 film The Fire Within.
– The café is mentioned in the 1975 song “Et mon Père” by Nicolas Peyrac.
– Amanda Lear filmed her music video “Égal” in Café de Flore in 1981.
– The café was featured in series 4 (episode 3) of Absolutely Fabulous.
-The coffeehouse appeared in the lyrics of the 2002 song “L’Entarté” by Renaud.
– Parts of the 2011 film L’amour dure trois ans were filmed in Café de Flore.
6. American writer, Adam Gopnik, wrote an essay “A Tale of Two Cafes” (Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots) and some say this helped Café de Flore become more popular than its rival.
7. The café offers classic French dishes. A recommendation is to order hot chocolate. The prices are high that’s true, but then you are in a living legend!
8. Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir used the café as their office. (Can you imagine?!)
9. The café is the face of the intellectual life of the neighborhood. Politicians, artists, intellectuals, designers, writers, they all come to this café to observe, look for inspiration and to meet up. The best time to enjoy the ambiance is in the morning.
10. There is no music in the café. The opinion of the managers is to keep the café as a place of exchange. With a cosy ambience which supports the visiting intellectuals who choose this café to observe and write.
A Parisian insider tip: For lunch or a drink, the 1st floor of the café is less touristy and very relaxed.
11. Since 1994, the Café de Flore has supported the arts with a “Prix de Flore” awarded to a promising author.
12. What’s the best place to sit in this Parisian café? Well, anywhere is great in this famous café but, to the left of the entrance are tables for the regular visitors and upstairs is lighter and quieter.
Article By Darina Nykl who lives in Holland where she works in a hospital and is an author. She blogs about the stories she is writing which are mostly set in Amsterdam, Paris, Provence and the Cote d’Azur, places that inspire her: darinanykl.com