Photography by Andreas Baière
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According to Wikipedia the «Café de Flore» was opened in the 1880s, during the French Third Republic. The name is taken from a sculpture of Flora, the goddess of flowers and the season of spring in Roman mythology, located on the opposite side of the boulevard.
In the late 19th century, Charles Maurras wrote his book «Au signe de Flore» on the café’s first floor, where in 1899 the «Revue d’Action Française» was also founded. «Café de Flore» became a popular hub of famous writers and philosophers: Georges Bataille, Robert Desnos, Léon-Paul Fargue, Raymond Queneau, Albert Camus were all regulars, and so were Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Boris Vian, Guillaume Apollinaire and Jean Cocteau.. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai was known to be a frequent patron of «Café de Flore» during his years in France in the 1920s. The classic Art Deco interior of all red seating, mahogany and mirrors has changed little since World War II.
Like its main rival, «Les Deux Magots», it has hosted most of the French intellectuals during the post-war years. In his essay «A Tale of Two Cafes» and his book Paris to the Moon, American writer Adam Gopnik mused over the possible explanations of why the Flore had become, by the late 1990s, much more fashionable and popular than «Les Deux Magots», despite the fact that the latter café was associated with Jean-Paul Sartre et Simone de Beauvoir who both held their press conference in 1964 in order to announce their rejection of the «Nobel Prize in Literature».
The «Prix de Flore», a literary prize inaugurated by Frédéric Beigbeder in 1994, is awarded annually at the «Café de Flore».
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