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Les Deux Magots: Bask in the glory of a very literary past!
I had promised myself on my last trip to Paris that I would treat myself to a beer at the Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and raise a toast to the ghosts of Simone de Beavoir, Jean-Paul Sartres, Picasso, Hemingway and the large cast of other literary notables who have frequented this watering hole in times gone past.
The cafe is beautifully located opposite the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and it is not hard to see why the intellectuals of yesteryear would have chosen this as the spot to while away their time. Oh, and just in case you're wondering (as I was), the name means 'The Two Figurines' and thankfully bears no relation to maggots of any kind ...
However, I got there mid afternoon on a hot Indian Summer Sunday, when seemingly half of Paris had the same idea, and as I couldn't get a table outside, I gave up! Suppose it gives me something to look forward to next time ...
Whilst I'm on the subject of tables outside - and for fear of stating the obvious - do bear in mind that some cafes will charge you extra for the pleasure of a pavement table, and most charge a lower rate for drinks if you are content to stand at the bar. So, in order to avoid an unpleasant surprise later on, make sure that you know what you're paying for before you park yourself comfortably for a long, boozy session!
Hemingway ate here
Les Deux Magots is, at first glance, a horrible name for a restaurant but it thankfully isn't a reflection on the food. This corner cafe was once an upscale fabric store which took its name from a popular play - "The Two Magots of China "- of that era. When it was overhauled into an eatery in 1914, maybe the owners figured they'd just keep the signage and save a few francs? Whatever. The "deux magot" are actually two figurines perched inside the dining area and you won't find any critters of the double-g variety in your crepes.
This, as well as several other cafes in nearby, was the hangout of famous artists, writers and philosophers so it's often a destination for book-lovers and creative types. For everyone else? Come for the sunny terrace and great location near Paris' oldest church: St-Germain-des-Prés (see my review in "Things to do.") Tourist magnet? Sure, but still a fun spot to hang out for awhile and do some people watching.
We joined the lively crew on the patio for an early supper after exploring St Germain's churches and museums. I had a lovely little omelette (Omelette mixte, jabon et fromage) and a small green salad, and the husband ordered smoked salmon on baguette (Sandwich saumon fumé de Norvège): both good, especially accompanied by a couple nice glasses of wine. The menu runs the gamut of salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts from around 8€ - 29€, and there's a special dinner menu after 7:00 in the evening. Money to burn? Order the Caviar francais toasts et crème for a mere 110€!
I'm not including price per person as it can vary widely depending upon what you order. See the website for menus, prices and some interesting history on the cafe and its more notable patrons. Open daily 7:30AM - 1:00AM
Note: the washrooms had a fee of .50€. That may have changed since we were there but bring some change just in case.
- Food and Dining
- Historical Travel
Les Deux Magots: My favourite
When I miss Paris, I also miss a croque and a coffee served on the nice terrace of "Les Deux Magots", watching the nice show of the Saint Germain streets...
Being again in Paris few months ago, I'be got at least some new pictures with my new camera ...I'll share one with you-of course.
Les Deux Magots: Have to stop at this classic cafe
We stopped at this cafe because its in every travel book, magazine, website on Paris, since its been around so long.
We didn't eat, but stopped for some cocktails, which were good... the outdoor area is VERY crowded, but it was good people watching!
Les Deux Magots: Another World-famous Cafe!
This cafe is also well-known for its clientele of intellectual elites - which included Ernest Hemingway. We went there for tea and this is what we ordered: 2 coffees, omelette with cheese and ham, and omelette with something (sorry, have forgotten what was the filling!).
The cafe seems larger (more tables and chairs than its rival - Cafe de Flore) and busier, with quite a number of tourists sipping coffee there.
We chose an outdoor table and sat basking in the bright morning sun of Paris in June. Like how Steve Matchett (author) described the cafe in THE CHARIOT MAKERS - "the first café in the quarter to be blessed by the morning sun. Its clientele pay a healthy premium for drinking there, it’s only fitting they should be the first to catch the warmth of the new day."
Unfortunately, the guy who served us could be having a bad day (he seemed cold and aloof), and that marred our experience. Another thing to note - a visit to the washroom costs 50 cents Euros.
Les Deux Magots: Great people watching as well as food!
I work for a furniture company in the Atlanta area, and we had just had famous designer Alexander Julian for a speaker to our salesfolk---he designed a line of furniture for Universal Furniture Company. I asked him, since he is a world traveler deluxe, where I should go to eat and drink while in Paris. Of course he told me to go to the most expensive places, including Alain Ducasse's Restaurant and Les Deux Magots! We decided we would at least get a drink at Les Deux Magots, so went one late afternoon. The people watching was incredible, as we sat in a corner looking out over the room and out the door onto the street scene! The vodka was delicious, too! I am sure the food is delicious as well.
Les Deux Magots: A Famous Favorite
“With an apple I will astonish Paris.”
— Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
The business began in 1813 as a fabric shop, selling silk and other luxury items, as well as serving tea. It took its name from a play, “The Two Magots of China.” Inside the café two sculptures of seated Chinamen still decorate the central pillar.
Les Deux Magots has attracted such figures as Paul-Marie Verlaine, Stéphane Mallarme, Oscar Wilde, and Guillaume Appolinaire. Paul Eluard introduced Dora Maar to Picasso at Les Deux Magots. Jean Paul Sartre would write for hours here, sometimes stopping to talk to Ernest Hemingway.
Today, a combination of locals and tourists ensure a continued eclectic mix of clientele. Have lunch or dinner, people watch or take in the beauty of St-Germain des Pres across the street.
Les Deux Magots: Worth it
Les Deux Magots is that coffee that makes you think..."yes i am in Paris and it is fabulous"...
Just take a seat outside and watch the people walking down the Boulevard St. Germain, it will be a pleasant experience.
I had a croque monsieur, it was delicious and don't miss the rose petals macarron... it was the best ever!
Les Deux Magots: What They're Wearing in St-Germain-des-Prés
Café les Deux Magots is one of THE most famous cafés in Paris and definitely a literary café (Sartre, de Beauvoir and Hemingway all wrote here). It’s also featured in the 1995 version of Sabrina starring Richard Gere and Julia Ormond.
It was one of Hemingway's favorites. Indeed, Janet Flanner relates that it was here they shared "a piece of personal duplicate history that he and I discovered one day at a quiet back table in the Deux Magots cafe, which he always favored for serious talk". That tragic personal duplicate history was the fact that both of their fathers commited suicide.
This was also a favorite of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, so much so that the place outside is named after them, "Place Sartre-Beauvoir".
This is also a divine place to sit on a sunny day and people watch. I whiled away an hour or two taking note of what people were wearing. Besides the de rigeur black, I saw lots of Converse Chuck Taylors and tons of women wearing cowboy boots! And then there was this great older gentleman who sat in front of me with a cool Tibetan hat on.
Photos: November 2007
Favorite Dish: That bright autumn day last November I chose a wonderful Buffaletta de Mozzarella salade (12.80€ - $18.69USD) and an espresso (4.20€ - $6.13USD). The cheese had a nice firm texture, the basil was fresh, the tomatoes were wonderful! It was the first time I ever liked cherry tomatoes. Olive oil and vinegar were served with the salad which was topped with coarse sea salt. There was cracked pepper on the table so I could as much on as I liked. Free bread was served, so I made a small puddle on the plate of olive oil & balsamic vinegar and sopped the bread in that.
I sat at a table that was snug in a corner between the door and the wall. Must be a popular spot because an elderly woman came by and looked questioningly at me. I assured her I was leaving and it was mon plaisir to give up my table. She seemed pleased and gave me a grandmotherly smile!
Le deux Magots; Cafe de Flore: Rive Gauch
Here are the homes of existentialst thought where you can buy a more expensive and much nicer coffee than at Starbucks, and pay homage to the great thinkers. Just don't forget de Beauvoir was and is more important to thought than her male counterparts!
Les Deux Magots: Un cafe litteraire *6e
The food isn't as important at Les Deux Magots or its across-the-street rival Cafe Flore. You are paying for location and history. Both Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway were patrons in earlier eras.
The "magots" are old wooden statues of Chinese mandarins.
Les Deux Magots: Outdoor Cafes
I have not done so but I have seen countless of locals and tourists do it. I'm referring to sitting at an outdoor table at Les Deux Magots. It was just too cold for us to partake in this unfortunately. This cafe is so world-famous and sitting outdoors seems to be more highly prized than sitting indoors. The location can't be beat: it's right on Blvd. St. Germain and is across from the Eglise St. Germain. This is a major intersection and is great for people watching!
Les Deux Magots: Touristy but Pretty Good
I've passed by Les Deux Magots countless times and had never stopped in. However, this last visit I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
It's a huge cafe with lots of tables and the decor is simple. The deux magots on the wall are what the cafe is named for.
Waitstaff are efficient and pretty nice.
In short, Les Deux Magots' prices were not terribly exorbitant. Yes, they were a bit higher than other cafes, but the food was good and you know you're eating in a famous literary cafe. It's a great experience and one that I almost passed up once again thinking it would be a tourist trap. Now I've eaten there and have a lasting memory of my visit. I would not hesitate to return.
Favorite Dish: I ordered the quiche which came on a bed of baby greens with tomato slices. The quiche was light, had a nice crust, and lots of egg and ham. The baby greens were a good complement to the quiche. Cost was 14.20 euro. A bit high but considering the location and the cafe itself, not so bad. Also had a glass of vin rouge and a cafe espresso.
Les Deux Magots: Historic Lunching
Well known artists and writers have frequented this place since 1914. I went for the hot chocolale which was rumoured to be the best in Paris..Oui, Oui..I must agree. My spoon was almost able to stand up in the cup!
Weather permitting, this place offers an ideal Parisian cafe experience but no one could've been convinced to sit outside in the cold air on the day we were there. This place was packed.
Favorite Dish: For a lite bite try the Quiche Lorraine
Les Deux Magots: No big deal
So what's the big deal with this restaraunt? It was like every restaraunt in Paris. You can get your ham sandwich, omlette, or croque monsouir like you can get anywhere else. In Paris all restaraunt staff, except the staff here, were very friendly. I would definately skip this place. Expensive for lunch and NO BIG DEAL.
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