Photographer's Note

Inside the café "Les Deux Magots", two superb Asian statues still adorn the central pillar of this famous Parisian café, watching over the terraces on the Place Saint Germain des Pres as they have been doing for over a century.

The café started life in 1813 as a drapery, selling silk and other luxury items. It took its name 'Les Deux Magots' from a successful play of that time: 'The Two Magots of China'.

By 1884 "Les Deux Magots" had transformed itself into a wine merchant's on the corner of St Germain des Pres just as the area was transforming itself into a artistic quarter with the presence of the publishers Grasset and Gallimard and the theatre 'Le Vieux Colombier'.

In 1914, Auguste Boulay, an ancestor of the present owners, realised the potential of the building's location. After a refurbishment, the café "Les Deux Magots" emerged, and rapidly became the place to "see and be seen". Soon, legendary figures of the art world were frequenting the café : Verlaine meets Mallarme, Oscar Wilde takes tea, Guillaume Appolinaire and others have animated debates on important issues of the day.

With the twenties came the exuberance and energy of the surrealist movement and its leading proponents could be found in passionate discussions over a coffee or a drink in "Les Deux Magots". Then in 1933, after Andre Malraux had been awarded the prestigious Goncourt Prize for an academic novel, a group of enthusiastic writers decided that there should be another independent prize for talent and originality. At that moment "Le Prix des Deux Magots" was born and it was first awarded to Raymond Queneau for 'Le Chiendent'.

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