Le Bonaparte

July 17, 2002 - 4:00 p.m.

The bright blue, white, and red awning here (the blue stripes are the thickest, and then the red) was retracted when it got cloudy and then extended again when the sun came out. The café faces the same plaza as the church St. Germain-des-Prés and the café Les Deux Magots, though there is no historical marker in front of this café listing the famous people who wrote here. It seems a nice enough place, a little removed from the noise and bluster of the Boulevard St. Germain.

The coffee cup and saucer are both white with thin cherry-colored stripes around the edges. The cup says "Le Bonaparte" across it in cursive. My espresso came with a fat chocolate-covered almond and a small glass of water with an ice cube that quickly melted. The sugar is in a blue tube, powdered. My table top is reddish, marbled, round with a brass rim. The wicker chairs have red and blue striped caning.

An Asian woman's little dog was barking as the woman drank her coffee, and so she has since put it into her lap to better shut it up. The little dog resembles a gremlin and is at the moment happily sitting up with its paws on the table and looking around. Two wicker flower boxes stand in front of the café with red and blue plastic caning around the sides and a variety of flowers within (don't ask me what they are, but they are white, red, pink, and purple). A man in a passing Open Tour bus seems to be videotaping the café.

The dog has started barking at a little girl holding a feather who gets uncomfortably close to it and puts out her feather like a peace offering (the dog continues to bark at her). Another little dog with a long, thick coat of hair is quietly installed on the ground next to the table in front of me. It looks like a little eskimo dog, one that has been trained on how to behave properly in a public place and not bark at little girls who only have a feather with which to defend themselves.

NOTE: I later saw that according to the menu, Jean-Paul Sartre did, in fact, write at this café on occasion. That guy sure did get around.

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Le Bonaparte
42 rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris
Metro: St. Germain-des-Prés
Price of an espresso: 3.50 euros
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar
Bonus: chocolate-covered almond and glass of water with ice cube

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