Megan Hill

Cafe de Flore, Paris- A Timeless Institution in Parisian Café Culture

From celebrity customers to its centuries at the forefront of Parisian cafe culture, here’s why you should be visiting Cafe de Flore for un cafe or deux.

This Parisian institute is one of the most renowned cafes in Paris and is about as classic as it gets, with its crisp white marquee and overflow of customers relaxing at chic tables outside. Although the hot chocolate and setting are more than enough reason to make a visit, it’s Cafe de Flore’s illustrious history that attracts thousands of tourists every year and makes it one of the best cafes in Paris and is the perfect representation of Parisian cafe culture.

Located on the Seine’s picturesque left bank between the fifth and sixth arrondissement, this art deco destination has been featured by the likes of Vogue Australia, Goop, Time Out Paris and more. Unsurprisingly, it’s topped many Parisian guidebooks as a must-visit place especially for those who love literature, fashion and art. (In fact, the cafe is lined with works of art by the master artists who used to frequent Cafe de Flore.)

5 Famous Quotes about the Cafe de Flore

1. "Now that he has disavowed as outright lies many of the stories he told himself, it's hard to know what to make of those who still insist that David Brock had it right the first time." - Jane Mayer
2. "If not absolution, I yelled, give me oblivion." - Kiran Nagarkar
3. "If God is not an active part in your friendships, you are missing one of life's most important treasures." - Beth Moore
4. "Day must be an exciting friend, but night is a truthful one." - Himanshu Chhabra
5. "Cafe De Flore speaks of love, its joys, its pains and its dramas - to love and to lose. This story upset me, I was upside-down, in the depths of myself." - Vanessa Paradis.

Cafe de Flore Paris

Dating all the way back to 1887, this charming establishment has long paid host to the intellectuals of the city and attracted big names to its front doors. For years, it was the place to be and be seen (plus get into a debate or two) as many a great mind frequented the premises.

Named for a statue of the goddess of flowers that used to sit opposite the street, it quickly became a St Germain institution. The great French poet Apollinaire would later invest in the spot and attract other literary types including Aragon, Andre Breton and Philippe Soupault to its tables.

It’s a stretch, but the cafe claims that it was the ‘birthplace of surrealism’ - regardless of whether it actually was or not, it’s definitely a place where the movement found its feet. It's considered to be one of the best Cafes in Paris, so make sure you give it a visit.

More About the History of the Cafe De Flore in Paris

In the early 1900s, Cafe Flore Paris became a landmark spot with a reputation for attracting the most forward-thinking types. Descartes, Picasso, Simone de Beauvoir, Trotsky and more begin to frequent the cafe - all thriving and humming with promise despite the gloomy German occupation in World War 2.

The cafe endured the Nazi regime as a hidden sanctuary for the free-thinkers and soon attracted creative types from all industries over the ensuing years. Cinemaphiles like Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Coppola, Quentin Tarantino; the big thinkers like Roland Barthes and Jacques Lacan; sartorialists like Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Paco Rabanne - they all found refuge here. And naturally, the crowds, keen to catch a glimpse of the big names, began to flock to the cafe and brought big business with them.

That takes us to the present day, now that it’s become a beloved tourist destination and a spot that even celebrity cafe regulars will sometimes brave the crowds for. With its bright red flowers, crimson couches and vintage furniture, it’s no surprise that it’s been featured in popular films (such as the one literally named after it) and television shows like Gossip Girl as a chic Parisian hangout.

Cafe de Flore Paris menu

Now that you have the lowdown on the cafe’s long history, it’s now time to understand why people keep on coming back to this classic spot. If you’re looking for some of the best coffee in Paris, the beans and brew at Café de Flore is top of the line and apparently, Robert de Niro even has it delivered straight to his hotel room when he’s in town.

Be sure you don't miss one of the best hot chocolates in Paris, as its chocolate chaud is off the charts: thick, creamy and served with a side pot of chantilly cream.

If you’re going to be visiting any nearby tourist spots on the left bank, we’d recommend stopping here for a delicious omelette and a coffee to start the day off right. And it goes without saying that if the weather’s warm and sunny, you simply must sit outside on the terrace at Café de Flore.

In the early evening, it also becomes a popular apero spot where you can grab a glass of wine and people watch. Just bear in mind that as it’s a popular joint, the prices can get a little steep - maybe have a couple here and then move onto another bar if you’re going to make it a long night.

5 Interesting and Unique Facts about Cafe Flore Paris

  • Historical Roots: Café de Flore is one of Paris's oldest coffee houses, with its story starting in the late 1800s.
  • Famous Patrons: It's been a favourite spot for well-known writers, thinkers, and artists like Georges Bataille, Robert Desnos, and Pablo Picasso.
  • Birthplace of Ideas: There's a belief that Café de Flore is where the surrealist movement kicked off, making it a key place for creative minds.
  • Timeless Decor: Inside, you'll find a classic Art Deco style that hasn't changed much since the 1940s, with red seats, dark wood, and mirrors.
  • On the Silver Screen: The café has made appearances in films and TV, like the movie "Les Amants du Flore" and the show "Emily in Paris."
  • A Mix of Views: Though it's loved by many visitors, some locals aren't as impressed, saying it's too busy and not as great as its reputation suggests.

Cafe Flore Paris Address

Cafe de Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France

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