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Literary Café Culture in Europe

The beautiful photographs and interesting stories in the book, Grand Literary Cafés of Europe, by Noel Fitch, provide both the background behind the history of café culture in Europe and great ideas for places to relax on your next European city trip. “Coffee is the beverage of thought, dialectic and dream”.  From the first cafés formed in Ottoman Empire to today’s chain boutiques, café culture has always been a part of the European cultural identity.  Some of the most fantastic cafés featured in this guide include:

Cafe Americain

Cafe Americain

Café Américain (Amsterdam)
Just off the bustling Leidseplein is this Dutch version of an Art Noveau paradise.  Located in a canal-side hotel, the café within is popular with locals wanting to read a newspaper or enjoy a good book.

Tourists often drop in for a coffee and to admire the wonderful architecture, complete with lamps and murals from the 1920s.

Cafe Flore-Paris

Cafe Flore

Café de Flore (Paris)
Originally, Café de Flore offered a separate floor as a quiet sitting room for writers to work during the day. It has hosted icons such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and many modern day artists as well.

Today, the café , still sporting its original red and black art Dec theme is packed with tourists soaking up the brilliant cosmopolitan atmosphere overflowing here on the Boulevard Saint-Germain.   The venue offers old world charm with a warm ambience but continues to be en vogue even in modern times.

Cafe Gerbaud

Cafe Gerbaud

Café Gerbeaud (Budapest)
Gerbeaud is popular for many reasons – not only does it serve up wonderful coffees, but it is famous for delicious pastries and towering bowls of ice cream.

Set on the corner of a picturesque square on the Pest side of the city, the terrace here is one of the busiest places in town on a warm, sunny day.

Cafe Central

Cafe Central

Café Central (Vienna)
One of Vienna’s architectural masterpieces, Café Central is an amazing space, with vaulted ceilings gently echoing the frequent hiss of the espresso machine or clanking of glasses.

The coffee here is absolutely delicious, served piping hot with thick milky foam on top and a cold glass of water to accompany.

Want to know more about the origins of coffee?  Need a guide as to the best old-world cafés steeped with history in your next European excursion?    Then grab yourself a copy of Grand Literary Cafes of Europe

Written by Andy Hayes for

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