Salad on a Parisian Terrace

by Lisa Michaux, Tastemaker in Residence

A great salad in Paris might have more to do with the ambiance than the actual food itself. In honor of National Salad Month, I want to pass on a few of my favorites to the readers of the Spirited Table. 

  The Terrace of   Café Les Deux Magots   with a view of Saint-Germain-des-Près in the background  (photo by Lisa Michaux)

The Terrace of Café Les Deux Magots with a view of Saint-Germain-des-Près in the background (photo by Lisa Michaux)

Café Les Deux Magots is ideally located in the 6th arrondissement with a stunning view of the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Les Deux Magots has been on this site since 1884 and has been frequented by a bevy of famous authors and artists including Verlaine, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Hemingway, Picasso, Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. There are two floors (Simone de Bouvoir and Sartre held court on the upper floor) and the terrace extends around the corner into a little plot of precious sidewalk that is covered in umbrellas in the summer. On the main floor there are two large wooden figures of Chinese Merchants mounted on the wall. These are the “Two Magots” of the café’s name. The “t” and the “s” are silent when pronouncing “magots,” giving it a much more appetizing name in French than the sometimes confusing English interpretation of this café’s name ;)

  Salade Deux Magots  (photo by Lisa Michaux)

Salade Deux Magots (photo by Lisa Michaux)

  Desserts at Les Deux Magots  (photo by Lisa Michaux)

Desserts at Les Deux Magots (photo by Lisa Michaux)

The salad itself is fine, but the location is stellar and probably accounts for the longevity and popularity of this venerable café. A few weeks ago I sat on the terrace next to a French businessman, some Chinese tourists loaded with Louis Vuitton shopping bags, and gazed out to a young family seated under the umbrellas. Last June I visited on a sunny afternoon with my friends from language class and we celebrated with salads, rosé, and, of course, dessert! One of the best things about Les Deux Magots is that they have waitresses specifically assigned the lovely task of bringing out the dessert platter. "Dressed in black with crisp white aprons tied around their waists, they bring the most beautiful arrangement of pastries from Pierre Hermé to your table. Enjoy the process of trying to choose just one!". Just try to decide which one you will have! 

"Have you spent time at Les Deux Magots in Paris and have a memory to share?" 

Café Les Deux Magots
6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
75006 Paris