If you’re going to Paris to write a novel, you’re going to need a writer’s haunt. The city is full of such magical places. I have a few for different purposes. I have a café for my letter writing, a café for my journal writing, a café for when I’m miserable and want to indulge in my morose thoughts, and I have a café for book writing. (Sometimes those last two cafés are the same depending on how the book writing is going.)
One such lovely writer’s haunt is Le Rostand at 6 Place Edmond Rostand, 75006. I use this one for journal writing.
TimeOut Magazine describes it as such:
“Le Rostand has a truly wonderful view of the Jardins du Luxembourg from its classy interior, decked out with Oriental paintings, a long mahogany bar and wall-length mirrors. It’s a terribly well-behaved place and you should definitely consider arriving in fur or designer sunglasses if you want to fit in with the regulars. The drinks list is lined with whiskies and cocktails, pricey but not as steep as the brasserie menu. Still, with a heated terrace in winter, it’s perfect for a civilised drink after a quick spin round the gardens.”
I suppose that’s accurate. It’s a “terribly well-behaved place” mostly because of people like me. Solo patrons looking for quiet in the midst of a midday hustle bustle of chinking glasses and chatter of waiters.
This is a typique patron of Le Rostand:
Sometimes I feel I’m peering into my future. If this is what I look like at a riper age I’ll be very pleased. Look at that serene confidence!
This could have been a Before shot of the lady above… 30 years before:
Notice the look of overwhelm and concern of a typique 20-something. I used to look like that. Now I’m somewhere in between. I don’t have a photo of me writing in a café. Side effect from visiting such cafés solo. This is the closest I’ve got…
and it’s a total poser shot taken by a girl I met that day. (I named her Summer in the book. Her real name was Jen, but that’s too mild a name for her character. Apologies to the Jens of the world.) The photo was taken outside of Shakespeare & Co. I had just bought that book. I look totally amused by what I’m reading. In reality I was feeling uncomfortable about the photo being taken and about my new friend. How am I going to get out of this?
Back at Le Rostand, a sea of solo patrons keep to themselves and take photos of each other. If we were to ever converse and share, we’d have an album of lovely café shots of each other, but the first rule of Café Club is to never talk to each other.
They serve Café Richard coffee. For the first few months of life in Paris I thought all the coffee shops were named Café Richard, but it’s just the distributor.
Café Richard also has an Académie du Café where you can learn the art of making espresso. Personally, I’m more of an Italian espresso girl, but that should be no surprise.
Back when I was in university, I would go to the local coffee shop and sit with my journal. I mostly made lists back then. I didn’t have much to write and I certainly didn’t have the skills to write, but I loved the idea of sitting in a café with my journal and pen, so that’s what I did. And that’s what I kept doing for years. Finding cafés and writing in them. It led me all the way to the gorgeous cafés of Paris. All because I wanted to be that person, even if for the first long while I had to just pretend.
One such café visit led to the creation of a Paris Letter where I watch one waiter bust his particular move:
It’s now available in the shop. I’m getting the archive up there, folks. Part of my Curating Year. High-five!