Boulevard Saint Germain – Les Deux Magots

Katie says that Boulevard Saint Germain is not far from her home and that it is packed with street cafes. I concur. I spent sometime myself at The Friendly Diner right next to the Musee Cluny and I ended up there by chance as I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of restaurants lining the street side by side and instead of carefully choosing, I picked one randomly and walked in. But it would have been a good choice as well.

Boulevard Saint Germain is another of Baron Haussmann’s projects in the 1850’s and 60’s that changed and shaped the face of Paris. To create this vast and long main artery on the left bank of the Seine that runs through three arrondissements he combined a couple of smaller streets and leveled everything in its path, including a landmark prison. The urban mansions that were erected to line the Boulevard spoke and speak of the wealth and aristocratic background of their owners.

The part of the street that runs through Saint Germain des Pres/ the Faubourg became famous as the center of the existentialism movement of Jean-Paul Satre and Simone de Beauvoir. They as well as e.g. Picasso, Albert Camus or Ernest Hemingway were frequent patrons of the café Les Deux Magots, giving the place a historical reputation as the rendezvous of the literary and intellectual elite of Paris. The café is as old as the area it is located in. It started out as a fabric and novelty shop selling lingerie. It changed its business to café and liquoriste in 1884. And it is the place where Vincent and Kate meet for hot chocolate.

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