Our local Mannheim newspaper has been running a series about the "great cafés of the world". For Paris, they had chosen Café de Flore and we decided to go there on our first evening.We were lucky and got a table almost immediately, although the place was packed.It is a nice place and the omelette and Welsh Rarebits we had were excellent, but I didn't quite understand why it had become so famous - apart from the fact that celebrities used to go there. I found it quite expensive, but you pay for the name, I suppose.
You hear about the rude Parisian waiters all the time, well, we didn't encounter any of them.
Even in this famous café and although it was very busy, all the waiters were very friendly. A young man next to me was reading a book for the entire time we were there, with an empty coffee cup in front of him, there was a long queue of people waiting to get a table, but he wasn't rushed at all.
Once a hangout for Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and various other intellectuals and writers, Cafe de Flore is now supposedly one of the hot spots for movie stars, models, and fashion designers. I didn't see any, but probably wouldn't have recognized them anyway.
On Sunday at brunch, this is a great people watching place even if you don't know one star or starlet from the other. (Except for Tom and Katie, whom by now we all know even if we might not have wanted to, so many of them seem to look alike these days, unlike Grace, Catherine, Audrey, Romy, Cary, Gregory....Oh darn, I do sound old, don't I?) It is interesting to watch and see how the rest of the crowd is dressed.
I was amazed to see a number of overweight, but attractive, smart (the European way for saying fashionable when speaking English) women of a certain age, certainly not trophy wives nor girlfriends, but probably the original, with good looking well dressed men. (This gave me courage as I am more than a certain age and bit overweight since becoming that.) By the way they were dressed, I am sure they were not American women, who unfortunately have the reputation, deservedly or not, for being the biggest.
Based on my choice, the food was only okay, so probably it is better to just take a coffee and have a brioche while reading your paper and sneaking peaks at those new arrivals. It seems that you can sit for a while over one cafe creme without being rushed, probably mainly due to the busyness of the place. You wont get waited on right away either. Be patient.
The people who go there are quite chic, so I would dress accordingly. You can wear your skinny jeans with beautiful shoes whether they be stilettos (French women seem less inclined to wear these than Florentine or New York women) or ballets. If you wear your trainers. i.e sneaks, you will definitely be out of it, unless, of course, they are those trendy things they are wearing in Florence--the gold, silver, or sparkly ones. I think those might work here.
Favorite Dish: I had the welsh rarebit, which was nothing like what I am used to, and the portion seemed gargantuan. I shamefully ate every bite.
The best place to sit for people watching, of course, is outside or in the glassed in section, but if you want to look like a regular sit inside and probably at the back.
I checked "very satisfied" only because it's a fun place.
One of the most famous of the literary cafés on the Left Bank, Cafe de Flore is well-noted for people-watching from the terrasse. Alas, on this day (as you can see from the photo) there was no one - most likely due to the rain! Guess everyone was sitting inside, including me! Very touristy but I loved it!
I tried their famous soupe a l'oignon gratinée (great and very expensive, too - 12€) & equally famous chocolat chaud (great hot chocolate although not as great as Angélina - 7€). I'd purchased some very plump, red, beautiful raspberries from the market on rue de Buci which was a perfect pairing for the hot chocolate. I'd rate Angélina's as the best hot chocolate I've had in Paris, followed closely by that at the Ritz' Bar Espadon, followed a bit distantly by Café de Flore. But you don't really come here for the food, you come for the ambience and the great people-watching.
Well, it must not have been too bad as I came back for the chocolat chaud and the soup along with a 1/2 litre of Evian (6€) and a club sandwich (17€).
One of the important scenes in the Merchant-Ivory film Le Divorce features Roxy (Naomi Watts), Isabel (Kate Hudson), Charles-Henri (Melvil Poupaud), and Olivia Pace (Glenn Close) as Charles-Henri is preparing to exit from his relationship with Roxy.
It’s also featured in the Paris episode of Ab Fab where the models go to prepare for a modeling shoot, in Surviving Picasso and The Age of Innocence.
Favorite Dish: Chocolat chaud! The onion soup & club sandwich are good but not superior to what you could find elsewhere and the price for each is exorbitant! Better to stick with a drink and sit in one of the window seats or on the terrace for people-watching!
Photos: February 2006
Cafe de Flore is our favourite - good location for people-watching (and spotting trendy Parisiens walking past in front of our table), pretty good food and friendly, attentive service. Located in arrondissement 6, it is within walking distance from our apartment.
We chose a table outdoors, and ordered the following: Cafe Creme, Earl Grey Tea, Le Flore (toast with ham and cheese) and Le Jockey (toast with ham and cheese, plus one omelette on top). The service staff was patient and although he couldn't speak English very well, we appreciate the fact that he tried his very best to describe to us the 2 dishes we chose - "Le Flore" and "Le Jockey". He did certainly did much better than another guy we encountered at a rival cafe, which is..erm, located just a few steps away!
A bit pricey, but it was a great experience to visit the same cafe as Picasso, Sartre, Camus did etc.
Favorite Dish: My "Le Jockey" was delicious! The portion is generous, and the omelette on top of the toast had a soft yolk (which I like).
It's a little more pricey than the average cafe but one goes here to experience living history. Sartre, Camus, and Picasso are just a few of the great people in history that frequented this joint. Though the Art Deco interior was cool and inviting, the rush hour walkers outside along the very busy St-Germain-des-Pres indirectly lured me to sitting outside to watch. Just watch.
I've read in several travel logs that intellectuals and a few famous people find their way to this place. I don't know about that but the guy who sat next to us was immediately followed and surrounded by paparazzi. Or were they taking pictures of me?
Cafe de Flore in St. Germain is one of the city's most famous cafes. It's a place where French philosophers such as De Beauvoir and Sartre used to hang out, though with prices to match it's reputation, you might be better off drinking elsewhere.
My wife and I went to Cafe de Flore for a snack recently. Knowing the Paris Cafe culture, I expected a decent table; a tasty, small plate; and a somewhat high bill.
Compared to other cafes in Paris, I found the place quite normal and way overpriced. We got sitted in the second floor, which really is nothing special. I guess if you are sitted in the main room, you will have a better experience, but still, I cannot justify a 15 euro small quiche, quite average in taste.
It must have been better and less overpriced when Sartre used to go... I am sure he also always got top spot.
Cafe de Flore(pron Cafay-d'flawr)
Second home to de Beauvoir and Sartre.
ah hhh hhhhhh to sit on a mild spring evening on a slightly wobbly chair drinking champagne and admiring the passers-by .. THAT is Paris and Cafe Flore is THE place to do it!
Favorite Dish: The champagne cocktail
There are hundreds of authentic cafes to try in Paris. One being the Cafe de Flore. We thoroughly enjoyed it, service was great, as was the pudding.
Favorite Dish: We only had a pudding at this particular cafe, and my chocolate sponge cake was delicious - light and fresh :)
The other cafes are ones we know about and never got to visit, but will make a point of visiting next time :)
Photo credit: Copyright 2003-2006 www.imageafter.com
Café de Flore, 6ième arr., was established in the late 19th century.
Favorite Dish: Not a favourite menu item, but this is also one of the 'must visit' places. Can be very busy at lunchtime and at teatime! M Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
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