PEOPLE KEEP THEIR FINGERS ON THE PULSE OF THE CITY LIFE AT THE CAFES OF PARIS.
Although, showing its face for the sun is not a long-standing promise in Paris, it is still good enough for the Parisians to go outdoors and find a spot at one of the sidewalk cafes. The cafes of Paris are the places where the people keep their fingers on the pulse of the city life. Ladies who wear haute couture, gentlemen, tourists, students, priests, writers, poets, film producers, artists, they all come together at those cafes.
Life at ‘Sidewalk Academy’
Numerous writers and artists have searched for inspiration at the sidewalk cafes of Paris, the city of light. Their thoughts, creations, and arguments have become mature at their ambience. Many celebrities are among those names such as Boris Vian, Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Signoret, Hemingway, Rimbaud, Aragon, Picasso, Modigliani, Troçki, Charlie Chaplin, Yves Montand…
A neighborhood of arts, philosophy, and politics
You must reserve one evening for St-Germain des Prés in Paris. Blend in with the book lovers, antique collectors, and fashionistas at a historical cafe of your choice. The legendary writers such as Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Stein and Joyce used to frequent, write, and enter into discussions at such cafes. Saint-Germain-des- Prés is among the rich, colorful, and picturesque regions. Besides being an elite neighborhood, the developments that were experienced in the past in arts, philosophy, politics, and sciences at this part of the city had been a great inspiration for the creation of the tolerant and relaxed environment in here. Although, the neighborhood that keeps becoming more elite day by day with the new additions of boutiques, galleries, and antique shops makes Sartre and Beauvoir, who used to lead the inteligentsia, and Juliette Greco and Leo Ferre, who used to sing at the jazz clubs in narrow cellars, turn in their graves, Saint-Germain-des-Prés is still among the pleasant places of the city.
From silk business to literary cafe
Anyone who used to desire to secure his or her position in politic, literary, and art circles were supposed to be accepted into these cafes first. Two of them are still located at the same corners: Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore. Les Deux Magost, in fact, used to be a silk tradehouse in the 17th century. The Chinese silk that used to be brought by ships through Seine River used to be offered to the elegant Parisian ladies at this cafe. The place transformed into a liquor store in the 18th century. Today’s Les Deux Magots building was built in 1914. Jean-Paul Sartre and his friend Simone de Beauvoir frequented here to work, settling side by side around two small tables writing non-stop about existentialism. This place had become a favor of many other famous names such as Picasso, Giacometti, Hemingway, Prevert, Aragon, James Joyce. Les Deux Magots, where many tourists who come to Saint-Germain-de- Prés visit, is one of the most expensive cafes of Paris today. It is possible to see the young Parisians, who park their motorcycles on the sidewalk and walk inside carrying their helmets, tourists, who view the brass plates that are engraved with Hemingway, Beauvoir, and Sarter’s names, and stylish people at this cafe.
A place for celebrities and the ones who desire to become a celebrity
History of Café de Flore, which is located at another corner in Saint-Germain-de-Prés, is pretty exciting. The first sparks of the nationalist movement were felt at this café in the beginning of the 20th century and the secret meetings used to take place here. The director Roger Vadim, who had made Brigitte Bardot a star, Albert Camus, and Simone Signoret were among the frequenters of the café. Albert Camus is the man of nights. Café is also well known with the famous egg fights (raw or cooked). Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, and Jean Paul Belmondo used to favor the terrace.
Picasso was among the valuable patrons of this cafe. When the famous artist came here, always the same ritual went on. The waiters Jean and Pascal run to grab his favorite trenchcoat, the owner of the cafe Monsieur Boubal greets him, and lits his Gauloises. Picasso has a little chat with the tall blond who stands behind the cash register, Madam Boubal.
Yahya Kemal’s favorite cafe
La Closerie des Lilas, where the most important events of Montparnasse used to take place, was in fact the follow-up of Buller Cafe, which used to be located at the opposite corner in the 19th century. People used to make music under the trees and throw ballroom parties at Buller in the 1830s. This cafe used to be Yahya Kemal’s favorite. The autographs, lines, and drawings in the golden book of Closerie belong to many famous names: Salvador Dali, Hispanic Director Luis Bunuel, Yul Bryner, the famous French singer Tino Rossi, Romy Schneider, Dario Moreno of İzmir… Yves Montand was the Closerie’s big loss in 1991.
Have your taste buds meet with a real French dessert at Gérard Mulot.
The Picasso Museum harbors the largest Picasso collection of the world. The most precious paintings and sculptures created by the artist can be seen at the museum.
Marché Edgar Quinet, located at Montparnasse, Hôtel Drouot, located at Les Grands Boulevards, and the markets that are set at Rue Mouffetard are worth seeing.
The dome of Sacré-Cœur (sacred heart) Basilica, located on the tallest hills of Paris, is where you can view the most magnificent landscape.