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Following the steps of Amélie from Montmartre


1.jpgThe coffee place where Amélie Poulain worked „Café des 2 moulins“, located on one of the climbing streets under Montmartre, street Lepic, gives the impression to be too spaceful for the Parisian norms. It seems that by being so large it looses something of its intimacy which so typical for Parisian coffee places. But in the lunch time when I get seated behind the table, the feeling of a too empty space goes away rapidly. The local people gather standing around the bar desk, in one hand a „café noisette“, in the other the newspapers, and in the part with small tables one can easily identify the tourists. Those from Asian countries, after the first excitement and many pictures (everybody with everybody, everyone separately, plate full of meal, decorations of the coffee place, menu with the picture of Amélie, bowl with the golden colour dessert crème brûlée), with the aim to show the pictures to all their facebook friends, with satisfaction type to their hypermodern mobile phones. American couples of lovers are also a proof that the coffee place is mentioned in the touristic guides all over the world. 

The menu is quite adapted to international tastes, hamburgers with French fries and salads satisfy the hungry tourists, the local people come here to have big plates of salads for lunch.
Almost all tourists order „goûter d‘Amélie“ – a hot drink, coffee or hot chocolate and a typical French dessert „crème brûlée“ wishing to experience Amélie’s pleasure from 2.jpgbreaking with a metal spoon the hard caramel on the soft vanilla puding cream. Sipping my cup of cappucino I observe the young waiter, swiftly running among the tables, bar and a kitchen. At one table he communicates in fluent Spanish, at another he scolds a young American: „First, you have to finish your salad and then I will bring you your dessert.“ With the Asian girls who do not speak English, he communicates with expressive hand gestures. After my comment admiring his language skills, he responds that he thinks that he is doing pretty well for his professional needs. He speaks English, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Turkish, some sentences in Japan and in Russian. He precises: „Of course I am not able to discuss the politics in Japan, but I can tell some jokes“. Good he precised, otherwise I would think that he discusses politics with the Japanese. I cannot analyse politics even in my native language, and the jokes in Japanese or Swedish are neither an everyday r3.jpgoutine for me. After having read my first name on my credit card, he curiosly asks what is the country where I come from and Slovakia has got the polyglot. He begs me to learn him some Slovak words. I have a good feeling that maybe I have just launched a process of his telling jokes in Slovak. The onion soup in the ceramic bowl with lion heads, the basket with the pieces of fresh baguette have not deceived me. The atmosphere of the coffee place made me look up in the evening some parts of the movie Amélie from Montmartre.
So now choose from this mixture. Is the coffee place worth stopping by or not? Do not get discouraged by the first impresion that it is a magnet for the tourists, it really has a nice atmosphere. And it is formed by an interesting ratio of the tourists from world-wide and the local guests who know each other, the combination of tables with joyful company of several persons and individual tables, a lady with her empty cup is working on her laptop, lonely Asian girls, several couples of younger or older lovers, on my left side, separated from my table only by a 5 inches gap, a young student telling her newest stories in an incredibly fast frequency to her father who invited her for lunch. During the whole lunch time the father managed to insert two remarks to his daughter’s monologue.
Why there are 2 mills in the name of the coffee place? Of course, one of them4.jpg is Moulin Rouge, and the other mill is  „Moulin de la Galette“, the only functional wind mill on Montmartre, which was changed in 1830 to the cabaret. At present „Moulin de la Galette“ is a private property and is not accessible to the public. The coffee place started to be run at the beginning of the 20th century, but its present name is only from 1950.
If you find yourself in these place and the coffee place - restaurant where Amélie worked will make you wish to go in her steps, it is worth stopping by at the „Epicérie“ (a small food market) with the name „La Maison Collignon“ located on the address 56, rue des Trois Frères and the cinema „Studio 28“ na ulici 10, rue Tholozé, where Amélie used to go.
Maria Dopjerova-Danthine, Paristep

Preview of picture in folder Paris Montmartre | Jan Schinko jr.