Travel Inspiration

The five cafes in paris every writer should visit

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Paris is a city with an enchanting reputation. Every year, people travel to the city inspired by romantic notions of embracing the Parisian lifestyle, like dreaming of taking strolls along the Seine and dining in charming cafes as the summer breeze wafts through fields of lilacs, all the while following in the footsteps of the great artists and writers who once called the city home.

The reality of the city is a bit different, as anyone who has made the pilgrimage can attest. Like any big city, Paris has its share of smog, traffic, and tourist traps. In that sense, the romance doesn’t quite hold up. And in many ways, the art scene has moved on past the haydays of the 1920’s, when the greatest collection of artists in history once gathered in its cafes, yet still these places remain and are well worth a visit, if only to sit at the bar and sip an aperitif, while imbibing also the spirit of creativity and history that yet dwells within. So in that spirit, here are the five cafes you won’t want to miss if you want to get a feel for those days.

Les Closerie des Lilas, 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse

Les Closerie des Lilas was perhaps the favorite Parisian haunt of Ernest Hemingway, who wrote many of his greatest works while seated in its shaded porticos. The Closerie today bears a plaque of bronze at the bar commemorating its most famous patron, though other writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald were also regular customers. Today, the Closerie remains a favorite destination for fans of these writers, as well as those who simply want to take in the history of one of the oldest cafes in Paris.

Brasserie Lipp, 151 Boulevard Saint-Germain

 

“Lipp’s”, as Hemingway called it, was another one of his favorite spots, and it also played host to writers such as Albert Camus. A German-style drinking establishment, you can find dark beer, potato salad, and an assortment of creative types coming to enjoy this 130-year-old cafe upon the Boulevard Saint-Germain.

Les Deux Magots, 6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres

Named after the two stocky figurines of Chinese Ming Dynasty officials that sit on the wall, Les Deux Magots was a favorite spot for artists near the turn of the 19th century. Picasso used to drink here, as did Camus, Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. Today the establishment is a bit heavier on tourists than artists, but the sense of creativity it once embodied is still there.

Cafe de Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain

Across the street from Lipp’s, Cafe de Flore was a favorite of many of the same people. Cafe de Flore is one of the oldest coffee shops in Paris, having operated continuously since the 1880’s. The cafe was a frequent haunt of people like Picasso and Chinese premier Zhou En-lai when he lived in the city. It retains much of that appeal, still serving as one of the hippest cafes in the city and remains popular with tourists and locals alike.

Le Dome

Le Dome was modeled from the start as a home away from home for English-speaking expatriates. As a result, it attracted many of the artists who exiled themselves to Paris in the early 20th century such as Henry Miller, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In addition, it played host to many of France’s top minds such as Sartre and De Beauvoir. Today, le Dome is regarded as an excellent place to get seafood, being highly rated by all reviewers for its oysters and other dishes.

Wyatt is a writer at 301 Digital Media. He can be reached at wyattredd@gmail.com.