The Lost Generation’s Paris

While the modern-day City of Lights is a far cry from Hemingway’s Paris, it seems like the romance of that post-WWI era of expatriates and wanderers will never disappear. Immortalized in books and movies, the allure of the gloomy Parisian café—the same ones where Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald sat smoking, drinking wine and scribbling—is strong. Though the time of living cheaply in Paris (as a writer, no less) is dead and gone, there’s no denying the stomping grounds of une génération perdue still pull a crowd. —Anna Brones

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    Café de Flore

    Just up the Boulevard Saint-Germain from its rival, Les Deux Magots, is Café de Flore, the Left Bank’s other iconic café. One of the Lost Generation's regular meeting spots, the café and its art deco interior is the kind of space that inspires legends and books—and it's featured in both. However, the writer class that made the café famous probably couldn’t afford more than a few modest glasses of red today, as bottles now go for upwards of 600€ on their Vins de Prestige list.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • outdoor / patio
    • full menu
  • 2

    Harry's New York Bar

    A New York bar that was dismantled and brought across the Atlantic in the early 20th century, New York Bar opened in Paris on Thanksgiving Day, 1911. (When legendary Scottish bartender Harry MacElhone bought it in the '20s, he renamed it Harry's New York Bar.) Since then, it has become a Paris institution attracting the likes of existentialist giants Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Humphrey Bogart and Coco Chanel. As the birthplace of the French 75 (or a Soixante Quinze), Harry’s Bar has been a cocktail institution longer than any trend. Nowadays, it’s a very tourist spot and the prices remind you of it. But ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • craft cocktails
    • live music
  • 3

    La Coupole

    Arguably the most quintessential brasserie in Paris, La Coupole is an institution of French art and style that came into its own in the late 1920s. The extraordinary art deco interior boasts 33 pillars, covered in Cubist paintings, which are listed on the Registry of Historic Monuments. A massive space (it seats 450), La Coupole has always attracted a star-studded clientele from Man Ray to Josephine Baker to Chagall to François Mitterand. Today, the brasserie menu features French mainstays, but also seafood towers and an abbreviated terrace menu.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
    • oysters / raw bar
  • 4

    La Closerie des Lilas

    Hemingway once said that La Closerie des Lilas (which translates to 'lilac enclosure') was one of the best cafés in Paris. In fact, he wrote much of The Sun Also Rises there. Today the iconic lilac arbor still stands, but the reviews are mixed; some love it, some hate it (the latter probably on account of steep prices). Yet, its weighty history as Papa's favorite makes it a prime location to relive the Midnight in Paris glory days. Lilas houses a restaurant, a brasserie and a late-night piano bar where a bronze plaque engraved with Hemingway’s name can be found.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • full menu
    • bar food
    • live music
    • outdoor / patio
  • 5

    La Rotonde

    In 1914, poet Guillaume Apollinaire wrote that Montparnasse (the creative left bank neighborhood) was replacing Montmartre (the bohemian right bank quarter) as the creative class's preferred locale. And it was at that time that La Rotonde became an institution. In exchange for meals, owner Victor Libion would accept art from the café's impoverished regulars, including Picasso, Modigliani and Diego Rivera. Nowadays, La Rotonde still does a simple-yet-solid, classic French menu (think onion soup, frisèe salad with lardons and leg of lamb), but payment is required.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • full menu
    • outdoor / patio
  • 6

    Les Deux Magots

    On a big left bank boulevard overlooking the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church, this iconic Parisian café counted Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre, Albert Camus and even Pablo Picasso amongst its regulars (and before that, Rimbaud and Verlaine). Today, the waiters in their black jackets and floor length white aprons fulfill every fantasy of brusque cafés garçons, and they’ll deliver traditional bistro fare and a proper pastis to the tables that spread across the outdoor terrace. Across the way is Café de Flore, another intellectual hangout, and Les Deux Magots' longstanding rival.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • historic
    • outdoor / patio
    • full menu

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