Sartre’s Day

From Peter Watson’s A Terrible Beauty: The People and Ideas that Shaped the Modern Mind.

Nowadays, the image of the French intellectual is invariably of someone wearing a black turtleneck sweater and smoking a harsh cigarette, a Gauloise, say, or a Gitane. This certainly owes something to Sartre, who like everyone in those days smoked a great deal, and always carried scraps of paper in his pockets. The various groups of intellectuals each had their favorite cafés. Sartre and de Beauvoir used the Flore at the corner of the boulevard Saint-Germaine and the rue Saint-Benôit. Sartre arrived for breakfast (two cognacs) and then sat at a table upstairs and wrote for three hours. De Beauvoir did the same but at a separate table. After lunch they went back upstairs for another three hours.


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