When it comes to “celebrity crushes”, there’s always been one fine French lady sat at the top of my list…
So when in Paris, what could be more appropriate than checking out one of the famous locations from my mega crush Ms Audrey Tautou’s most famous film – Amelie!
If you haven’t been lucky enough to see it, Amelie is the award-winning tale of a quirky – and rather insular – Parisian waitress who finds her niche in life by secretly bringing happiness to others. And the Montmartre situated Cafe des Deux Moulins that Ms Poulain works in just happens to be real and still going strong. Well, how could it not be after exposure like that I guess?
We were making the trip to the French capital for Ben’s 25th birthday, and as such a stop in the cafe was always on the hit list. Wandering the streets of Montmartre on our first morning, we had already strolled past the Moulin Rouge and many sex shops, and a turn to the right led to us stumbling across the Cafe des Deux Moulins, perched on the corner of Rue Cauchois and Rue Lepic. Needing my Audrey fix, we decided to pull up a pew inside and check it out.
Unfortunately Ms Tautou herself was nowhere to be seen, but a large signed print of the film poster temporarily sufficed. And thankfully for the cafe I wasn’t able to sit next to the aforementioned poster due to the Japanese girls who had nabbed those seats. I’m sure the owners didn’t want a strange English boy drooling against it. Fluttering my eyelashes at a poster was already bizarre enough I imagine…
Oh yeah so about the cafe itself. Well the interior was surprisingly small, compared to how it looked on screen. The magic of film hey! It was actually a very compact cafe, with the bar running along the right wall as you walk in, and tables dotted around near the front. The back of the cafe was, as expected, nothing like how it had been on film, with seating booths and the aforementioned Audrey print now in place. There was plenty of memorabilia from the film on display though, with Amelie’s father’s gnome taking pride of place on the bar.
Oh and I almost forgot this, but in a cool touch that Emily discovered, the photos of the gnome’s travels were plastered about inside the bathroom. These were the genuine ones used in the film, along with another lovely Audrey pic.
Of course it was a cafe, and we had actually stopped in for refreshments. Browsing the menu it was a relief to see that prices hadn’t been particularly hiked due to the cafe’s “prestige”, and they seemed pretty much in-line with usual Paris prices. So that’s still expensive.
But although I wasn’t feeling too hungry, there was one item on the menu that stood out. Me and Ben both decided to plump for this, and although it couldn’t have been more of a touristy choice, it was epically delicious! A particularly appropriate choice for the particular location we were in, it also didn’t get much more stereotypically French. Yes, we chose the Crème Brûlée D’Amelie!
Supremely sweet and terrifically tasty, I dragged out finishing my crème brûlée for so long as I really didn’t want it to all be gone. You might expect some cheap, reheated dessert from the fridge, but instead this was exquisitely prepared, with the top layer of caramel burnt to perfection. Burnt so well that I even took the chance to crack it with my spoon, just like in the film!
So as it turned out, the Cafe des Deux Moulins wasn’t just a worthwhile stop for the novelty value, but actually a genuinely decent little Parisian cafe serving an excellent crème brûlée. Whilst most tourists – like myself – will obviously flock there due to the fame it gained from the film, you’ll still see Montmartre locals whiling the day away in there, and it’s a cosy enough place to chill out for an hour or two. If you enjoyed the film, you should definitely stop by.
And if you needed any extra persuasion – Just remember, there’s a big picture of Audrey Tautou in there!
Have you visited the Cafe des Deux Moulins? If so, what did you think?