A café of a bygone era situated on Boulevard Saint Germain des Prés across from the oldest church in all of Paris (no, not Notre Dame but Eglise Saint Germain des Prés), Les Deux Magots is perfect for sitting on a terrace and sipping café or an aperitif – any time of day. Made famous in the 1920s by surrealists, authors, philosophers and artists, including Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso and too many others to list here, it has continued to attract celebrities, scoundrels, debutantes, businessmen, mistresses, politicians, lawyers, doctors, socialites, madams, movie moguls, models, oligarchs, musicians, and royalty, among others for decades.
Julia Child would come here to sip coffee and munch on croissants with her husband Paul, who noted that “nothing had changed since his last visit, in 1928.” (Julia Child, My Life in France, p. 24. ) Twenty years later, in 1948, Paul Child observed that “the brass light fixtures were still unpolished, and the waiters and probably the dust balls in the corners – were the same.” Well, certainly the waiters have changed since then, but much remains the same now, as then, with the two wooden Asian statues affixed to pillars on the inside wall, standing watch over patrons inside the restaurant.
A classic café with old and young waiters wearing white aprons, black vests and bow-ties, it is fun to see them whisk through the restaurant with their trays of coffees and croissants. The tulip shape light fixtures and gleaming brass maintain that elegant 20s feel (the brass is more polished now), but you can come as you are – in jeans and sneakers if you want. Just don’t be surprised if a glamorous Parisian grandmother in her mink fur coat is sitting next to you with her granddaughter dressed perfectly in a Bonpoint robe and black Mary Jane shoes. You might also run across a famous actor or two (Catherine Deneuve is known to frequent the café), but famous or not, it is a good place to read the paper, a book, or just people watch, morning, day or night.
While the café serves lunch and dinner, a snack or even just a drink is fine, as many people come to sit for an hour or two for just an espresso or café crème.
Open seven days a week, no reservations are required.
6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Access: Métro : Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Telephone: + 33 (0)1 45 48 55 25