Last Updated on 1st October 2017 by Sophie Nadeau
Café de Flore is located in the very heart of Paris’ chicest arrondissement, Saint Germain-des-Prés. Wander in at any given moment and you’ll be greeted with pretty decor, great service and a mouth-watering wine list…
Address: 172 Boulevard Gaint Germain, 75006 Paris
Nearest Métro: Saint Germain des Près (line 4)
History of Café de Flore
Many people cite the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of the city as their favourite district in Paris. And there’s certainly no denying that it’s one of the most lavish parts of the city. So perhaps it comes as no surprise that one of Paris’ oldest coffee shops, Café de Flore has been in operation here since around 1887 (the same time as the beginning of the Third Republic).
The name ‘de Flore’ is taken from Flora, the Ancient Roman goddess of flowers and the seasons. Shortly after the café’s opening, Charles Maurras wrote his bestselling novel, Au Signe de Flore, on the coffee shop’s first floor. And during the following decades, Café de Flore attracted a whole range of poets, writers and philosophers, including Georges Bataille, Robert Desnos and Raymond Queneau. Even Picasso was seen to frequent the café.
In the 1920s, Café de Flore was given an art deco makeover and little in the way of style has changed since then. The coffee shop’s main rival is nearby Les Deux Magots (which is also worth a visit if you’re in search of quintessential vintage Paris). The coffee shop still attracts national and international visitors to this day, including many a celebrity.
The Café de Flore Experience
On a particularly cold afternoon, my cousin and I donned our winter jackets, headed out on the metro and visited Café de Flore. We’d both heard good things about the café (that, and it was featured in an episode of Gossip Girl!) and wanted to try out the coffees for ourselves.
The food looked good, but the drinks even better. Due to its location in Saint Germain-des-Prés, as well as its popularity, the café is on the pricey side and as it was fairly busy, we opted to have drinks only. Being me, I ordered a glass of white wine, while my cousin ordered the much more sensible (and admittedly just as delicious looking) cappuccino.
Our drinks arrived within around ten minutes and came complete with a bowl of crisps (which was a nice touch, but then again the drinks were much more expensive than what I’d have typically been prepared to pay in the city). A bubbly ambience surrounded us and the typically Parisian decor (read: red sofas, low-hanging lighting, mahogany furniture and vintage mirrors) seemed to put everyone in a good mood.
All in all, we had a lovely experience, albeit a little pricey for the quality of the drinks served. But then again, you head to Café de Flore for the quintessential Parisian experience… and perhaps the hot chocolate, rather than the coffee!