hot chocolate and crowds at the Café Flore

Where? The Café de Flore, 172 boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris’s oh-so-chic 6th arrondissement

When? Saturday, 4 pm.

Why? Because I’ve been going to this legendary café for decades (I took my parents there once) and their hot chocolate is good. I also wanted to show my visiting 18-year old god-daughter where the beau monde of Paris meet. Good for celebrity watching. Years ago, I saw Lauren Bacall there, Bette Midler and Tina Turner (not together). And BHL (Bernard-Henri Lévy). It’s his neighborhood hangout.

Tourists call it The Café de Flore, Parisians call it simply Le Flore.

It used to be a sedate, traditional, classy Parisian café; quiet and elegant.

But now, as a consequence of the Emily in Paris series on Netflix, it has turned into a circus. We had to stand in line for more than 30 minutes! Never before has there been a queue to get into the Café Flore … quelle horreur ! It has turned into a tourist attraction, like Disneyland or the Statue of Liberty.

We were finally let in and shown to a table that hadn’t been cleaned. When the waiter came (after a long wait) he addressed us in English. “Nous sommes françaises,” we told him. “Oh,” he replied in French, “We speak English here all day long.” We ordered three hot chocolates. Last year I paid 8 euros for this beverage. Now, it’s 10 euros.

We wondered how café regulars, like BHL, get in and decided they probably entered through a back door and climbed the stairs to a quiet upper floor. Three hours later we left and walked in the cold, clear night to rue du Bac metro station.