Cafe Flore Paris cafe culture

Spent 2 days in the inspirational Rocky Mountains, drove though mountain passes, did not see any wild life, they where “closed for winter”. Dined in a wood beam, stone fire placed, Bison head bearing lodge with roast cauliflower soup and not so surprisingly …. Bison. 
Went up the mountain, did not go skating, did not go skiing, but did break my little toe in the lesser known Canadian Olympic sport of walking around the bed in the Hotel room. So…..  Yes, foot up, espresso machine at hand I write of … Ahhh Paris …

My fondest memories of Café de Flore, the way waiters move, even when they are older than me, 
the menu that is a staple of French dinning, the clientele of glamour cross arty bohemian cross American tourist, cross me please.

I went to a party to celebrate an Arty friend and author getting an Order of Australia, talking to
Liz Williams, another highly acclaimed Australian Artist, she remembered being in Paris as a student, seeing Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre at Café de Flore …… a tight pinch of history gave me shivers!

Café de Flore.... Where Simone de Beauvoir had incredible existentialist conversations ....  A deco dream of a café, spanked with a traditional brand, the cafés name is everywhere. Old waiters who smiled and looked slightly fed up at the same time. Silver jugs of hot milk and ceramic jugs of espresso.

Ladies in leopard spot caps and Chanel suits; grey dapper Americans, artistic types sketching Bohemian inspirations from Botticelli wearing thick rimmed glasses, at his very own table.
Squeezed in & turned over, tailored tweed & tourist canvas, wine glasses chunked with ice, Champagne ice buckets at the ready, a list of distinguished liquors, champagnes, wines, cold buffet or club sandwich all can be had at the same time … naturally, all day!

I love the way they move, opening a bottle while holding a tray with the other hand; they instinctively swerve around clumsy polite guests, balancing a table of flat wear in one hand, remembering every order as haphazard as they maybe. 'A cafe crème, a duck confit, is that gentleman coming back for his gloves, oh and that table is for the lady when those 2 are gone. They are ready for their change, table in the corner needs cutlery, where is that gratin I ordered, the rest of the table has finished eating.' A waiters mind… I love it!  The rush, the feeling of running the room, of being ahead of what everyone wants before they know it themselves....And then you’re done.

A good waiter is hard to find in this country. It’s a job, not something you do to get through college, it’s a profession. You have to be smart dextrous, personable, able to count, charming, have a fantastic short-term memory, it helps if you have a great smile. A natural diplomat, sometimes you have to lie … maybe a waiter should run the country …  you may get what you ordered?


Popular Posts