The name of the café “Les Deux Magots” (i.e. “two Chinese figurines”) comes from a novelty shop that once occupied the same premises. Founded in 1812 at 23 Rue de Buci, it was transferred to Place St-Germain-des-Prés to expand in 1873. The two statues that adorn the café now stand as witnesses to that era.
In 1885, the shop gave way to an alcohol-serving café that kept the same name. Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé, to name a few, were regulars at the café.
The Café began to play an important role in Parisian cultural life before asserting its literary vocation in 1933 with the creation of the Prix des Deux Magots award.
Frequented by numerous famed artists including Elsa Triolet, Louis Aragon, André Gide, Jean Giraudoux, Picasso, Fernand Léger, Prévert, Hemingway and others, the café hosted Surrealists under the aegis of André Breton, and Existentialists around Sartre and Beauvoir.
Today, as popular as ever, one of the oldest cafés in Paris attracts personalities from the world of the arts and literature, fashion and politics, and tourists from around the world!