|Subject: re Paris cafes|
As one of the Ziners said, the cafe you make your ``home,'' depends on where you stay.
I live in the 15th arrondisement (district), which is on the left bank, but is not frequented by tourists (there are no real attractions here, except perhaps the Eiffel Tour, which stradles the border between the 15th and 7th arrondisements).
There are several hotels in my neighborhood, tho can't recommend one. A friend stayed at the Hotel Le Bailli de Suffren, at 149 ave Suffren, near the Sevres-Lecourbe metro station on the 6 Line, and she had no complaints. It looks nice from the outside and it's on a very nice, upscale, avenue.
Anyway, my local cafe is called La Tour de Nesle (pronounced Nell), and it's located on the rue de Sevres at the corner of the avenue de Breteuil, only a couple of steps (`a deux pas') from the metro station. It's rather modern inside, so it's not at all ``quaint'' or traditional, but the owners and the waiters know my family and they shake our hands, a traditional sign that you are one of the regulars. One thing in it's favor: you would probably be the only tourist there, so you'd hear only French and you'd get a real feel for ``le vrai Paris' -- the real Paris. (At least one of the waiters knows English reasonably well -- and the menu is bilingual.)
Now, I wouldn't urge you to fnd a hotel room in my neighborhood just for the cafe! In well-tradden neighborhoods, such as St. Germain des Pres, there are lots of cafes that are frequented by all types of people. The Cafe du Flore and the Deux Maggot, across the street from each other on St. Germain, are historic cafes, but favored by tourists and thus are pricey. The upstairs of the Flore is still favored by Paris authors and `philosophes.' Why I don't know; it's rather spartan and always filled with cigarette smoke! I hate it.
One place along St Germain that I like is the Mondrian. Its hot chocolate is excellent -- you get a pitcher of chocolate syrup with the hot milk. The place is also on the modern side but with velvet curtains that give it a lush feel.
In Montparnasse, a rather busy area for tourists and Parisians alike, I recommend the Rotonde, one of several very historic cafes -- Hemingway and Fitzgerald used to live and hang out in the nieghborhood. The Rotonde's hot chocolate also comes with syrup in pitcher. Yummy.
I hope this helps a bit. No matter where you stay there will surely be a cafe within a short walk.
Evan in Paris