The guided tour includes an introduction to the history in Saint-Germain accompanying jazz music from the 1920s, sharing traditional snacks that contain a sketch and a quote from the famous artists, such as Picasso, and more who have visited one of the cafes, and handing out black and white photo frames from the 1930s to the 1950s for our fellow classmates to find the right angle of the café from the present with the past and take a photo with them.
La Closerie des Lilas
This was where Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises. While Fitzgerald started writing The Great Gatsby, he read on of his early drafts to Hemingway here.
“…it was one of the best cafés in Paris. It was warm there in the winter; in spring and autumn, the terrace was so pleasant…” — Ernest Hemingway
“The wine selection is medicore as the cheapest red bottle of wine starts at 60€ and can reach 3600€….Prices are high €€€€.”
“It tasted like the beef from beef stew and looked a bit like rye toast and headcheese with cubes of fole gras.”
Simone de Beauvoir
“Ten years from now it will probably be the Dôme.” — Ernest Hemingway
“What lets this whole establishment down is the price, average of €28 – €30 for a starters with the mains coming even more expensive (double in some cases).”
“We choose the salmon and we’re disappointed that it was over cooked, and had the slight fishy smell indicating it wasn’t that fresh.”
“No matter what café in Montparnasse you ask a taxi-driver to bring you to from the right bank of the river, they will always take you to the Rotonde.” — Ernest Hemingway
“The atmosphere is fine….But the food was so disappointing….the lamb was unbelievably full of gristle, such that you could not chew through it.”
“The soup was too liquid (without the texture) and the taste was not as good as we expected….The place is overpriced and left the feeling of disappointment after the visit.”
Montparnasse became “the heart” of literary, artistic, political life during the Roaring 20s, “Les Anées Folles”.
“In Montparnasse, on the contrary, we now find true artists dressed in the American style.” — Guillaume Apollinaire
“Every night, we find ourselves as family, each customer can do his number…..Me, I can not sing when I’m not drunk.” — Kiki, “Queen of Montparnos”
Les Cafés et Leurs Artistes
Historic Montparnasse cafés in Paris
Cafés in Literary World
Paris in The Sun Also Rises
Les lieux de légende: 1900-1940
official café site: La Closerie des Lilas
official café site: Le Dôme
official café site: La Rotonde
Reviews: La Closerie des Lilas – Tripadvisor
Reviews: La Closerie des Lilas – Yelp
Reviews: Le Dôme – Tripadvisor
Reviews: La Rotonde – Tripadvisor
image source: 1930s-1940s
What do you see as you walk on Boulevard Saint-Germain, Boulevard du Montparnasse and the streets in Montmartre?
Would you wonder how the cafés were like during the 1930s to the 1950s?
What was the significance?
What is the current impression?
Let’s take a moment to think about the past that makes the present.
The A3 poster is an extra large deluxe version from the A5 version used during the guided tour. With the fancy huge poster containing a picture taken in 2018, a pair of hands holding the photo from the 1930s to the 1950s, with a cut-out hole in the center, you can try to match the angle from the present and take a new photo, adding a new layer to the previous frames.
The postcards came in the same sizes, providing the possibility of connecting the past to the present. This is another way to approach the past, getting back to writing postcards, perhaps sitting within one of the cafés.
This A4 hard-covered guidebook covers our perspective on the cafés in Saint-Germain, Montparnasse, and Montmartre. These cafés used to be the gathering places of artists, writers, politicians, excellent food choice served in reasonable prices. We strive to make the readers think what was there and what has changed after so many years.
The left-hand pages contain an interesting sentence, ratings, a list of famous visitors, general history, sketches that resemble artists’ works. The quoted text varies from genuine quotes by famous visitors in the 1930s to 1950s to satirical comments by customers nowadays.
The right-hand pages include in each set, one sheet of photo from the past printed on transparent paper, layered over one sheet of photo taken by group members, aiming to capture the accurate angle same as from the past.