February 14, 2014

CAFE AU LAIT: Hemingway in Paris

"...I came to a good café that I knew on the Place St.-Michel. ... It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly. I hung up my old water-proof on the coat rack to dry and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a café au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write." ...A girl came in the café and sat by herself at a table near the window... "
                               —Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast: Chapter One

Hemingway wrote these lines in the throes of a wet winter day—the 'good café' he refers to in this excerpt no longer exists, but Brasserie Lipp, St Germain des Prês, where Hemingway wrote his pre-war correspondence, is still around. I took this pic there, sitting alone near the window, on a sunny spring day—oh for a sunny spring day—much too long ago.

Many of the 'old' haunts still serve as tourist meccas, places for nostalgic reverie, never mind that the coffee was not very good. But Paris's new cafés, the trendy cafés of les jeunes, have elevated the beverage to designer status. What better reason to return again, soon.

Brasserie Lipp, Paris, 1980?

And, here's a charming link I like, a FBpage, on Paris, 
coffee and assorted other delicious goodies: https://www.facebook.com/espressoparis