It’s famous for being a staple of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway, but Les Deux Magots has a lesson for us today that any Parisian in 1982 could probably have taught you.
One of Paris’ most iconic cafes, Les Deux Magots has survived wars, plagues and now The Spicy Cough.
Located in the Saint Germain area in the Left Bank of Paris, its historical reputation is derived from the patronage of Surrealist artists and intellectuals. If you need more names than already mentioned, try: Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso and James Joyce.
According to A French Collection: “Les Deux Magots appears in The Chariot Makers (by Steve Matchett), in which the author describes Les Deux Magots as “the first cafe in the quarter to be blessed by the morning sun.”
“Its clientele pay a healthy premium for drinking there, so maybe it’s only fitting they should be the first to catch the warmth of the new day.”
Speaking of which… a photo DMARGE recently came across on Getty Images, created in 1982, located in the Corbis Historical collection, shows a lost art of coffee drinking we could all do well to remember.
No: we’re not talking about smoking… We’re talking about being ‘in the moment.’ In this era where we are always plugged in, killing our inner monologue with either exercise, work, podcasts, music or Netflix (before wondering why it comes back with a vengeance when we put our headphones down and try to go to sleep), taking some time to talk to yourself, and just ‘be’ in your own head during moments throughout the day is a great way to decompress in small intervals (rather than one big insomnia-inducing burst at night).
As we discussed last week, pulling back to push forward can increase your productivity – giving you more energy and helping you make better decisions.
One way of doing this? Taking the time to have a coffee at a table, even when a busy day is making it tempting to opt for takeaway.
As Paris-based photographer Patrick Colpron once wrote out on social media: “Café life is when you just take the time to love a little instead of rushing from place to place.”
So: even though Australians like to think they are the best coffee drinkers in the world, perhaps the French are?
Gary Prebble, the owner of Sydney French restaurant Bistro St Jacques, told DMARGE this “passion for food and going out to eat and drink” is part of what makes Paris such a special place.
“It’s not just the hospitality providers… It’s the customers’ attitudes that makes it a party and something special.”
“I am 50 years old, so I grew up without social media and phones etc, and I am quite shocked at how much people rely on the use of these devices to legitimise their experience today.”
“I think this can contribute to significantly increased neuroses. I always have the feeling it takes people out of the experience of being there, and that is probably antithetical to a great hospitality experience of immersion.”
Before we get too ‘doom and gloom,’ it’s worth pointing out that in both Paris and Sydney, to name just two places, ‘mindful’ cafe culture still appears to be going strong (even if that does sometimes involve Bondi yogis doing headstands in the middle of the service area).
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Put that in your baguette and eat it.