Restaurants and cafes in the 6 th arrondissement, Paris

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Les Deux Magots

Les Deux Magots, Cafe de Flore and Brasserie Lipp

Left, and below left, two of the most famous cafes in Paris, Les Deux Magots, and Cafe de Flore.

During the 20s and 30s each group of intellectuals had their own favourite cafe. Picasso and Andre Breton in the Deux Magots, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvior in the Cafe de Flore and Andre Gide just across the Boulevard St. Germain in the Brasserie Lipp (see below).

During the secnd world war Occupation the Germans favoured the Deux Magots, so many of the writers moved to the upstairs room of the Flore where at least they had a stove to provide some heat during the cold winters. Each writer had his own table.

I can recommend the choclate cake in the Flore.

Tourists are often tempted to pocket the crockery, so the Cafe have began offering certain items for sale as souvenirs.

Cafe de Flore
Brasserie Lipp

La Rotonde

On the right is La Rotonde, on Boulevard Montparnasse, across the street from Le Dome in the 14th. La Rotonde was originally a shoe shop, and became a cafe in 1911.

Modigliani was a regular customer and used to pay for his food and drinks with paintings. Simone de Beauvoir used to hide here with her sister when she was playing truant from school. Trotsky was a regular, and it was here he met and became friends with the Mexican artist Diego Rivera. When he was exiled from Russia by Stalin, Rivera helped him move to Mexico.

La Rotonde, Paris
La Polidor Here we have two very different restaurants. Below is the upmarket fish restaurant La Mediterranée in Place de l'Odeon. It was opened in 1942 by a friend of Jean Cocteau who designed the logo. Since then diners have included Ionesco, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Margaret.le Meiterranee
On the left is Le Polidor at 41 rue Monsieur le Prince. This is a far more modest establishment. It was founded as a dairy in 1845, and the restaurant has been going since the 30s. It is pretty packed every lunchtime, so arrive early to be sure of a seat. The food is French, and always good. Note that the Polidor accepts neither reservations nor credit cards.

Le Procope

Le Procope, 13 rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, left and below, is supposedly the oldest cafe in Paris.

In 1668 the Turkish ambassador to France came to Versailles with a supply of coffee in his luggage. Coffee soon became the fashionable drink at court. It was reputed to cure many ills including headaches and gallstones, as well as sharpening the wit.

About that time coffee shops were becoming popular in London and in Paris 1685 Francesco Procopio Capelli opened up a coffee shop in the premises of a recently bankrupted bath-house. Across the street was the real tennis court, and players would pop in for a coffee after their games. At that time coffee was served by the half-pint. In the summer another novelty to Paris was introduced at the Procope - Italian ice cream flavoured with fruits and flowers.

In 1689 the Comédie Française took over the tennis courts opposite and the clientele of the Procope expanded to include famous actors and actresses of the time. This brought in fans to try to catch a glimpse of famous stars of the day. Regulars over the years have included Jean de la Fontaine, Voltaire, Rousseau, Georges Sand, Balzac, Victor Hugo and Anatole France. Napoleon, when he was an impoverished lieutenant, supposedly left his hat as security for an unpaid bill.

The Procope is usually busy and if you want dinner here you will have to book at least a week in advance. It is easier to get in at lunchtime without booking. The menu is typically French, there is an English translation and many of the waiters speak English.

Le Procope
Procope upstairs
These two photographs were taken in the upstairs rooms which can be hired for private functions.
Procope upstairs
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