Café de Flor on Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris is an institution. One of the oldest and most well known cafes in Paris it was opened in 1885. Its main rival, Les Deux Magot which sits just down the street, was closed for renovations which meant that Café de Flor was very busy even at the early hour we went on a Saturday morning. Inside Parisians and tourists alike were enjoying their coffee with a croissant or demi baguette with strawberry jam. Outside to one side a covered area was full of smokers reading the morning paper while sipping their café au lait. Despite the chilly temperature we decided to sit on one of the tables outside so we could watch the world of Saint Germain go by.
We weren’t in a rush which was good because it took the waiter a good 15 minutes to serve us. ‘Deux chocolat chaud’ or two hot chocolates will set you back 14 euros which may seem steep. But despite the price I would sit here again and again and have over the years. The hot chocolate came in a little white ceramic pot on the side. I love it when hot chocolate is presented in this way. To me it is a sort of message from the cafe saying “welcome, we want you to stay and enjoy our cafe for as long as you like so we have provided you with a whole pot of hot chocolate, please enjoy “. I filled my white cup to the top and sipped it happily, refilling whenever it got low or the liquid a little cool. It seemed that my little pot of hot chocolate never got low, it seemed never ending. In the end there were a good three cup fulls of hot chocolate for one person in that ceramic jug making it well worth the 7 euros, and probably enough to share with another person, not that I’d recommend sharing it!.
The hot chocolate itself is so nice, the perfect everyday French hot chocolate and the perfect way to start that morning. It was creamy and chocolatey without being too sweet, but still light and airy. Paris was just waking up and there were more and more people walking by, eyeing my hot chocolate jealously. I imagined all the interesting people over the years that must have walked in and out of these doors. The Surrealist Manifesto was set down here and during the German Occupation of 1939-1945 Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir made this café their office. Sofia Coppola the film director uses this café for her production meetings and a literary prize is given here yearly.
After your hot chocolate at Cafe de Flor you have countless options…you are in Paris after all. Get lost in the streets of Saint Germain, lazily make your way to the river and walk along until you find a street you like the look of and turn down it. It is all beautiful.
Verdict: What can I say, this one is a no brainer – one of my favourites. Try to go early so that you will be surrounded by more locals than tourists. Café de Flor, 172 blv Saint-Germain, Paris, France