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CAFÉ DU DÔME


Located at the corner of boulevard Montparnasse and rue Delambre, Le Café du Dôme, also called simply Le Dôme, was founded in 1898 Paul Chambon. It is the first café in Montparnasse.

"Coming from the Auvergne, very intelligent, the boss of Le Dôme, Mr. Chambon, easily admits that the Delambre crossroads has been from all eternity, or just as, designated for center of the district, its Forum, its Agora" (André Salmon, Montparnasse) .

Originally, it was a small neighborhood bar-tabac. As early as 1905, the café began to attract a clientele of Scandinavian, German and American artists, and established itself as a place of intellectual gathering. A billiard table is in the back room, "a small red and gold lounge, sort of vanguard of stendhalian Scala (André Salmon, Montparnasse) monopolized by the first arrivals. The others play poker. The atmosphere is warm, conducive to the birth of lasting friendships. People discuss for hours, including painting . It is said that at the time, a poor artist could order a Toulouse sausage and a plate of puree for the equivalent of one euro.

"Insensibly, the whole universe of artistic activity approached the Delambre crossroads, where already thrived Le Dôme, where La Rotonde was only a popular bar of nothing at all, where La Coupole did not yet exist, to build on the black lands of the Juglar : Bois et Charbons "(André Salmon, Montparnasse).

Hemingway describes Le Dôme in Paris as a fête: "There were models who had posed, and painters who had worked until the light came to miss them; there were writers who had finished their day's work, for better or for worse, and there were also drinkers and phenomena, some of whom were known to me, some of whom were mere extras. "

Thus the young painter of Bulgarian origin Jules Pascin arrived in Paris on December 24, 1905 aboard the Orient-Express. Become famous thanks to his satirical drawings published in Simplicissimus, german anti-militarist and anti-clerical journal, he is welcomed by his friends on the platform of the station. They bring him directly to Le Dôme for a big welcome party. Le Dôme becomes the headquarters of Pascin.

"At the corner of boulevard du Montparnasse and rue Delambre, it is Le Dôme: customers are regulars, rich or aesthetician people from Massachusetts or the banks of the Spree, or Pascin or the contemporary Clinchtel; it is here that they decide the admiration that they profess in Germany for a particular French painter. The glories of Géricault, Courbet, Seurat, of the Douanier Rousseau did not have to suffer from aesthetic interviews between the Germans millionaires of Le Dôme " (Guillaume Apollinaire).

The first war breaks out. The general mobilization puts an end to the festive atmosphere of Montparnasse. The Germans leave Paris. French soldiers join the front. The survivors will return after the war to resume their habits at Le Dôme or elsewhere.

From 1920 to 1929, Paris experienced ten years of excitement. These are the Roaring Twenties. Youth wants to enjoy life and forget the horrors of war. The Art Deco buildings transform the urban landscape, the automobile is essential, the household appliance revolutionizes everyday life. The emancipation of women becomes a hot topic. Indeed, following the departure of men for the front, women have already acquired a certain independence. Under the impulse of Coco Chanel, they adopt a fashion that represents their state of mind: a "boyish" cut, shorter skirts and more comfortable clothes, the opposite of the corset still worn at the Belle Epoque . Paris becomes the capital of renewal, and it is in the brasseries of Montparnasse that meet those who are the muses.

In the inter-war years, the Dôme is undeniably one of the symbols of the Roaring Twenties. It is frequented by many wealthy Americans and Germans. In the annals of the establishment is the reception organized on September 19, 1921 in honor of Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, stars of American cinema.

Le Dôme regulars are called "domists", a term coined to describe the personalities who frequented the place, including Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Max Ernst, Tsugouharu Foujita, Paul Gauguin, Ernest Hemingway, Vassily Kandinsky and Moses Kisling. , Marie Laurencin, Sinclair Lewis, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Amedeo Modigliani, Jules Pascin, Ezra Pound, Man Ray, Chaim Soutine, Gerda Taro, Paul Thesing, Otto von Wätjen, etc.

Today it is a chic restaurant that offers a menu of fish and seafood. Known for its famous sole or bouillabaisse, the establishment adapts its menu every day according to the arrivals of fishing.