How can an English student like myself miss out on paying a visit to the iconic Cafe de Flore when I was in Paris? Located at the crossroads between Boulevard Saint-Germain and the Rue St. Benoit, in the 6th arrondissement, this cafe has a legacy for being a gathering point for French intellectuals in the post-war period. Just imagine; the likes of thinkers such as Jean-Paul Sartre once pondered the world at this very cafe, watching the world go by….
Being such a notable cafe, I guess it was also inevitable that prices were on the steep side; we weren’t really that hungry, but just a vegetarian quiche as well as a ham and cheese omelette set us back by a total of about 24 euros…inflation and prestige have certainly sent the cost of dining here up!
There are always so many vibrant, bustling cafes located on the street corners of Paris filled with people at all times of the day…It might be a romanticising gesture, but I suppose the allure of being really French and taking a drag on your cigarette whilst people-watching still isn’t lost on tourists who are keen to experience this lifestyle just for a few days.
Ham and Cheese Omelette
To be honest none of these dishes especially stood out, and I realise that upon further research that Cafe de Flore is essentially just a quintessential tourist spot that people visit more for its repute than its gourmet offerings…still, the restaurant itself was packed with locals on a typical weekday night, and there is just s0mething about indulging in the ‘proper and posh’ atmosphere that was enough of a takeaway, I suppose!
In a nutshell, stop by the Cafe de Flore for a quick drink or snack just to check it out if you are into experiences like this, but if you are hungry and looking for an amazing gastronomic experience, steer clear of this place!
To end, just some quick tips for dining in France (or Paris at the very least) if you happen to be planning a visit soon:
1. It’s good to know some conversational French, because menus are hardly ever printed in English and communicating with waiters in traditional establishments is going to be a bit of a headache!
2. Most of the good cafes/restaurants are full of locals and are bustling at key mealtimes; don’t be afraid to experiment!
3. Definitely visit a patisserie!