Camille Benaroche, Café de Flore, St Germain
No trip to Paris can be complete without an early morning/late afternoon rendez-vous on the terrace of this historical left bank institution. It’s all about timing: arrive early for a good terrace seat and fresh service, arrive at midday and ask for a café – good luck…piff…snoot…It’s the hour of lunch! (You should know better) (Apply to all cafés)
Best way there: Grab a bike, velib (Paris bike system) or a vespa…or simply on foot. Saint-Germain church is your landmark…and install yourself on the terrace of Saint-Germain’s legendary Café de Flore.
Leave your copy of Vogue*/Le Monde at home and take a front row seat to a show in left bank chic.
Watch a catwalk of trendy left bankers stroll Boulevard St Germain, classically dressed waiters in black and white conduct the service around the signature green and gold tables. Sit back, listen to the hum of lively discussion, take in the aroma of coffee and cigars and reflect on the legends that have shared in the traditions of de Flore; (Sartre, Proust, Hemingway, De Beauvoir, Bardot).
Why go there? Coffee & croissants served with an essence of an era gone by…For La Belle Époque – experience the romance and the allure of a classic old Parisien Café.
What to do: Order “un pot”. Take inspiration from the great minds of de Flore. Take a journal. Debate philosophy. Answer Proust’s questionnaire for inspiration. Create your own nouvelle vague.
€€€€: A luxury menu: Budget high for coffee & croissants. You pay for the show, view and location.
Style Code: A cosmopolitan crowd – arty, left bank chic meets the cultured traveller. Accessories: Left bank élégant chic – Sunnies, le smoking, ballerinas, a moleskin, journal, good company and a charming spirit.
Timing: morning café pause – arrive early for a good terrace seat. Best time for coffee 9:30 -11:30. Lunch 12 :00 – 3 :00. Apero: 16 :00+
Avoid: Crazy, madly busy on Saturday lunch time.
Speak de Flore Language: To order in de Flore tradition; un café = « un pot », un verre de blanc = un « Ladoucette », frites = « pacquet de chips »
Coups de coeur: Where else in the world serves Moet + Œufs a la Coque, eggs served in 13 different ways and a club sandwich rykiel? Coffee and croissants served on Sempe illustrated table cloths! Notoriously priced champagne ! It’s all in the spirit of de Flore!
Overall Rating : 8/10 Unique institution, the heart of the left bank, ambiance with unquestionable élégance and style. Go with patience and avoid if you’re in a rush – the waiters hurry in their own time…
Coffee Rating : 5/10 – serviced beautifully with Café de Flore elegance but tastes a little bitter on the palate – not the finest in Paris.Little black books:
Café de Flore, 172, Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris www.cafedeflore.fr
Metro : Saint-Germain-des-Pres
*If you cant help picking up a copy of Vogue Paris from the adorable neighbouring kiosk and the french is a bit rusty – understandable! Read Emmanuel’s edito translated to English translation covered here.