The café Deux Magots, true Parisian
institution created in 1885 is in the hands of the family
Mathivat originating from The Auvergne since 1919. Its
terrace looking over the church Saint-Germain des Pres
continues to attract the foreign client in good weather.
As a result, the Deux Magots, has a clientèle
composed of 70% tourists and 30% regulars. The décor
hasn't changed an iota. The benches in red moleskin and
the mahogany tables have passed the test of time. The
waiters dressed in black and white are equally part of
the décor of this historical place.
Its the two statues representing Chinese
mandarins and looking serenely over the room that gives
the name to this emblematic establishment of Saint-Germain
des Pres. “Magot” means “stocky figurine
from the Far East”. These two “magots” are
the only remains left from the old silk shop that in
1885 became a liquor bar. Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé,
amongst others, took th ehabit of meeting and sipping
absinthe on the terrace.
It wasn't until the 20's that the Deux Magots obtained it's noble letters and
became the general district of artists and left-wing intellectuals.
In 1925, André Breton and his surrealist friends, Louis Aragon, Paul
Eluard, Robert Desnos, Antonin Arrtaud met regularly.
When the new war started, the Deux Magots
became a place for political debate. At the liberation,
the existentialists, with Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir
in front took up their abode there. They each had their
own table attributed and came to write each day without
fail. They were soon joined by Boris Vian and Albert
Camus. The Myth of Saint Germain was born.
Foreign writers and artists like James Joyce, Bertold Brecht or even Stefan
Sweig, Picasso or Hemingway.... came to meet here.
Today one comes to the Deux Magots to
taste a hot chocolate old style or to sip a coffee served
in the pot, but especially to see and be seen. Because
sitting at the Deux Magots, you are sure to come across
a personality from the art world, literature, fashion,
entertainment and politics. However, the café remains
above all a literary café.
Philosophical cafés are held most often on Sunday mornings. At the time
of the world demonstration “Read at parties”, the texts of Simone
de Beauvoir are read inside the Deux Magots, there where she came to sit to
write with Jean-Paul Sartre.
And the literary prize of the Deux Magots rewards each year a writer since
1933. 2008 will see the 75th award ceremony.
The Deux Magots also gives the Pelléas prize that rewards a literary
work dedicated to music and the Saint-Germain prize, in association with the
brasserie Lipp and Sonia Rykiel, who crowns each year an artist from a different
discipline (architecture, cinema, theatre, drawing, fashion...).
The Deux Magots in Japan
Bunkamura – Tokyo
Since 1989, the café Deux Magots has been declined in Tokyo, in the
district of Shibuya in the heart of a cultural centre, the Bunkamura. Decorated
by the French architect J.P. Willmotte, the Bunkamura consists of a museum,
cinemas, an art gallery, a theatre and the biggest opera in Japan, Orchad Hall.
A shop offers gastronomic products under the name of Deux Magots, and a bakers
of the same name.
Finally, the literary prize of Bunkamura is awarded each year, during September,
in the café Deux Magots, to a Japonese writer. The first laureate to
receive this prize, in 1991, was Yamada Koichi for his work “François
Truffaut, a special cinematographic life”.
edited by the Press society PARIS BISTRO EDITIONS - All rights
reserved - 2008