Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cafe de Flore, Paris

So I had the most expensive Croque Madame ever, recently in Paris, at Cafe de Flore. On a major intersection in Saint-Germain-des-Pres in the very popular 6th Arrondissement, Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Magots are two of the top tourist traps in the neighborhood. Both claim to be frequented by the intellectual elite living in Paris after World World II, literary giants such as Ernest Hemingway and Albert Camus as well artists such as Pablo Picasso. Cafe de Flore in particular was a frequent place where Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre met to talk shop over drinks and cigarettes. Or so they say.

Intelligentsia aside, this is definitely one of the top people watching spots in the city. Sit yourself at one of the outdoor cafe tables with your paper, cigarettes, coffee and croissant and you'll watch all of Paris and its tourists walk by. The menu is filled with items that are recognizable to tourists around the world as French cafe food: sandwiches, onion soup, omelettes, salads. And lots of wine and coffee too. I splurged on a Croque Madame, a salad and a glass of St. Emilion as my final meal on a recent trip to Paris. Sure it's touristy, but it's still an institution. And it was very close to my hotel. And I had very little time to eat before rushing to Gare du Nord for the Eurostar back to London. Cafe de Flore was it.

The Croque Madame was classically made with a crusty layer of melted gruyere. The sunny side egg was a perfect sauce for an otherwise dry sandwich. The salad was simple, dressed with a lovely mustard based vinaigrette that reminded me of Ina Garten's recipes. And washing it down with a St. Emilion while watching Paris go by...c'est magnifique.

So the Croque Madame was $23. So what? It was worth it. Afterall, eating is a sort of existential nourishment isn't it, Mr. Sartre?

No comments:

Post a Comment