Les Deux Magots
Les Deux Magots (French pronunciation: [le dø maɡo]) is a famous café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris, France. It once had a reputation as the rendezvous of the literary and intellectual élite of the city. It is now a popular tourist destination. Its historical reputation is derived from the patronage of Surrealist artists, intellectuals such as Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, and young writers, such as Ernest Hemingway. Other patrons included Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, Bertolt Brecht and the American writer Charles Sutherland.
The Deux Magots literary prize has been awarded to a French novel every year since 1933.
Origin of the name
The name originally belonged to a fabric and novelty shop at nearby 23 Rue de Buci. The shop sold silk lingerie and took its name from a popular play of the moment (1800s) entitled Les Deux Magots de la Chine (Two Figurines from China.) In 1873 the business transferred to its current location in the Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés. In 1884 the business changed to a café and liquoriste, keeping the name.
Auguste Boulay bought the business in 1914, when it was on the brink of bankruptcy, for 400,000 francs (anciens). The present manager, Catherine Mathivat, is his great-great-granddaughter.
References in literature and popular culture
- Les Deux Magots appears in The Chariot Makers (by Steve Matchett), in which the author describes Les Deux Magots as: "the first café in the quarter to be blessed by the morning sun. Its clientele pay a healthy premium for drinking there, it’s only fitting they should be the first to catch the warmth of the new day."
- The café figures prominently in Abha Dawesar's novel That Summer in Paris (2006)
- The café is referenced in the 1955 novel, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. The narrator claims,"I sat with uranists in the Deux Magots."
- Mentioned in the 2011 novel, Tabloid City, by the author Pete Hamill
- Mentioned in the 2006 novel, Between the Bridge and the River, by the author Craig Ferguson
- It receives a mention in the Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa's novel The Bad Girl (2006)
- In the 2009 novel El hombre que ameba a los perros (The Man who Loved Dogs) by Leonardo Padura it is one of the places where Trotsky's assassin, Ramon Mercader, spends time while waiting to be sent to Mexico to complete his assignment.
- Several scenes in the 1949 movie, The Man on the Eiffel Tower take place here
- The café features in the 1959 film The Sign of Leo by Eric Rohmer
- The café appears in the 1973 film The Mother and the Whore, directed by Jean Eustache
- The café appears in an early scene of the 1973 film "The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob", directed by Gérard Oury
- The café features in a scene in the 2012 film Intouchables, directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano
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