No visit of mine to Paris is complete without a meal at Les Deux Magots*! A famous Paris café-restaurant, it was once a well-known rendezvous point for the literary and the intellectuals. It was frequented by the likes of James Joyce, Bertold Brecht, Pablo Picasso, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus amongst a host of others.
The name Les Deux Magots originally belonged to a fabric shop at the nearby 23, Rue de Buci. The shop sold silk lingerie and took its name from a popular play of the moment, in the 1800s, named Les Deux Magots de la Chine (Two Figurines from China). In 1873 the business transferred to the current location in the Place Saint-Germain-des-Près in the 6th Arrondissement (burough), in the shadow of the famous church St. Germain des Prés, a haven of peace in a busy area. In 1884, the business changed to a café and a liquoriste (a liquor store), keeping the original name. It has been in the hands of the same family since 1914. If they have their centennial next year, I’m going 🙂
Some people consider the place an overpriced tourist trap but not I. I like to find a table in the glazed patio and watch the world go by as I partake of the energy of the souls of the writers of bygone eras. I specially chose this picture for the clear view of the table I sat at on my very first visit there, almost a decade ago. I had invited two dear friends for breakfast, and we sat at the very spot of the table on the right side, where there are three people sitting…the woman in green is where I sat — ah nostalgia! There are some memories and emotions that can’t be allowed to be interpretted by anyone else!
Here are some of my favorite souvenirs from Les Deux Magots — an apron, an espresso cup and a creamer. They sit here on my kitchen counter to remind me of one of my favorite corners in the world :)! Ahhh…
This youtube video captures the ambience a bit, although it’s a little noisy!
*Pronunciation: lay – the – mag_O