la rotonde

Thanks to an invitation out by my partner, I finally enjoyed my first experience of Café de la Rotonde. What a delicious space – I could move into the cafe if it were possible.

It is clear to see why it was the haunt of such an impressive list of intellectual and art world heavy weights including Hemingway, Picasso and Modigliani. You can easily picture Hemingway working on “A Moveable Feast”, Picasso being taken by the two ladies in front of him and deciding to develop his famous painting of them at the café. The café manages to embody all that one associates with great minds and artists – a kind of self-evident, effortless charm.

While some of the prices are a bit on the expensive side, it is definitely possible to afford an entire afternoon becoming hyper caffeineted while devouring a book or scribbling into a notebook. A basic coffee does not cost much and it is also possible to take one’s time finishing the complementary water. It is a good thing that you more often than not don’t need to pay for water (important information for students on tight budgets who come from cities that charge for everything).

My usual skepticism about famous places and things simply does not apply to La Rotonde. The atmosphere is inviting without being obnoxious. It manages to pull off a bohemian but sophisticated ambiance and makes for the perfect place to either enjoy a rainy afternoon slone or in groups of no more than three. The cosy corners also beg for those among us who appreciate a few delicious scoops of gossip – or rather, delicious scoops of informativve deliberation – to find a spot under one of the velvet lamp sheds and lose track of time.