Paris - St-Germain-des-Prés: Café de Flore
Café de Flore, at 172 boulevard St-Germain, dates back to the beginning of the third Republic, sometime around 1887. Its name comes from a small divinity sculpture which stood across the boulevard. At the end of the nineteenth century, charles Mauras, who lived on the second floor, wrote his book, Under the Flore Sign here.
Around 1913, Apollinaire and Salmon transformed the first floor into a newspaper office and les soirées de Paris was born. In 1917, Apollinaire introduced poets Philippe Soupault to André Breton here, and in turn they to Aragon, laying the foundation for the Dadaist movement. Apollinaire called 172 home and died here in 1918.
In the 1930's, Pascal, a waiter-philosopher, better known as Descartes, served Trotsky or Chou En Laï. Yvest Tanguy introduced Leo Mallet to de Flore, and he in utrn wrote La nuit de Saint-Germain-Des-Prés. In 1939, Paul Boubal purchased the Café de Flore and through the occupation, French intellectuals Simone De Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre would meet "The Family" and evolve their existentialist philosophies over drinks. Sartre asserted that "during 4 years, the road to the Café was for me the Road to Freedom." Simone Signoret wrote in her memoirs, ""I was born in March 1941 at night on a bench of the Café de Flore". Following the War, drunk with freedom, existentialism became the fashion and Saint-Germain-des-Prés became a principal meeting place and think tank drawing in the likes of the PCF (French Communist Party), and Boubal's Poully Club of France, which drew its name from the famous white wine served at the café. In the 1960's, cinema and fashion seized the café and all the best filmmakers, models and designers would frequent the haunt.
Today it still attracts its fair share of celebrities and tourists. Robert DeNiro will spend full mornings people watching. Johnny Depp will drop by any time of day. Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, and Isabella Rosselini will find their way when in time. And Francis Ford Coppola declared that his dream was to live in Saint-Germain-des-Prés so he can eat his breakfast at the Flore each morning.