HISTORICAL CAFES IN PARIS

The Flore: A café for poets, and then philosophers.



The café Flore made its appearance in 1885 exactly.  It owes its name to a sculpture of the goddess of Spring; "Flore" situated on the other side of the road.

Towards 1913, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire who lived in the boulevard Saint Germain frequented it.  With the poet Salmon, he transformed the ground floor into a writing room.  That's how the revue "Les Soirées de Paris" came to be.  It took on its habits.  To the extent of fixing its appointments at particular times just like an office.  In 1917, you could see on the terrace of
the Flore great discussions in the company of André Breton, founder of the surrealist movement and Aragon.  The word surrealist was invented and the Dadaist group was born. 

During the 1930’s, the whole of literary Paris came to the Flore : Léon-Paul Fargue, Raymond Queneau, Michel Leiris. Georges Bataille, Robert Desnos were among the most regular customers.  The oldies of Montparnasse came to stay freely, including Derain, the Giacometti brothers, Zaskine and even Picasso.

During the 1930's, the whole literary world in Paris came to The Flore: Léon-Paul Fargue, Raymond Queneau, Michel Leiris. Georges Bataille, Robert Desnos were among its most regular customers.  The regulars of Montparnasse came as well, including Derain, the Giacometti brothers, Zaskine and even Picasso.
The cinematic world was not indifferent to this special atmosphere.  Marcel Carné met the actor Serge Reggiani there.  But the buy-out by Boubal du Flore in 1939 (on the left of this box) marked the age of gold of the Germanopratin (which is an inhabitant of the Saint-Germaine des Prés area) café.  Boubal knew how to attract to the Flore elite intellectuals, along with the Germanopratin duo Sartre-Beauvoir, who set up their "social seat".  Jean-Paul Sartre wrote: "We are completely settled there; from nine o'clock in the morning until midday, we work, we eat, and at two o'clock we come back and chat with friends until eight o'clock.  After dinner, we see people who have an appointment.
  That may seem strange to you, but we are at home at the Flore". It wasn't the least bit paradoxical to Boubal.  Like his colleague, Cazes at Lipp, he never opened a book, and he wasn't a member of the left wing.

Next to the intellectuals, actors (Jane Fonda, Jane
Seberg, Roman Polanski, Marcel Carné. Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, Losey and Belmondo) and singers (Juliette Gréco, Boris Vian), frequented the Flore. It also had a reputation as a great meeting place for homosexuals, which
was rather poorly regarded during the '50s and '60s. 
The owner Boubal was known for his temper, and there is onefamous story about the day he exploded with anger when he discovered graffiti in the toilet of his café that read
"Boubal is the one!" He assumed the culprit was his client and friend, a man called Blondin, who once amused himself by baptising a chicken in the Saint-Germain des Prés church (the priest there pressed charges).
Since 1984, Moroslav Siljegovic has been running the Flore, who also now runs the "Closerie des Lilas".And today, the terrace of the Flore remains one of the few terraces where you catch the first rays of the sun in Saint-Germain des Prés when you are passing through Paris. With a little luck you might meet Johnny Depp, Jack Nicolson or even Lauren Bacall. Since 1984, Moroslav Siljegovic has taken over the destiny of the Flore, who also runs the “Closerie des Lilas”.

Café de Flore Room

And today, the terrace of the Flore remains one of the terraces where you have to be seen profiting from the first rays of sun at St-Germain des Pres when you are passing through Paris. With a little luck you might meet Johnny Depp, Jack Nickolson or even Lauren Bacall. 

 

 

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