The Café des Deux Moulins in Montmartre is a real café that was made famous as a result of this film. Paris cafes are many and varied. The café has always been an important place for food, recreation, culture, gossip, reading newspapers, spending hours over a coffee or a drink, and meeting with friends or other regular daily patrons. Some cafes are landmarks for history, social and art movements.
Paris café has a long social notoriety of being a place where artists, writers, and revolutionary thinkers met, mixed social classes, and exchanged ideas to change Paris society (W. Scott Haine).
The cafe of Paris has attracted the rich and powerful, also the writers and artists including Emile Zola, and Arthur Conan Doyle, at the famous Cafe de la Paix, Grand Hotel. “In 1939, after 106 years of service, the cafe closed for the first time on the evening of World War II. It offered service again to General DeGaulle for the first dinner in 1944 in liberated Paris. It is a listed monument with France.” (Grafe).
It still serves as a coffee culture and café society that started in Paris with Voltaire, Diderot and others. The first coffeehouse was in Persia, Ottoman empire. French travellers brought the café back to Paris. The first café in Paris was Procope in the 1600’s. It continued to be a center of social life and culture in the Belle Epoque for artists, writers, and worker’s social lives.
The cafe transformed itself from its inception in the 1686, as an institution of daily life, with the growth of several hundreds by the 1740’s.
“One cafe or the presence of several cafes in a neighborhood could shape the rhythm of social life for the people” writes Tabetha Ewing (Rittner).
The bourgeoisie, the working women, and the demi-monde were at the café too. Social and political debates, literary readings, music, and dance developed at the café. The cafes were subjects for paintings, for example, the interior café scenes and social life. Santiago Rusinol, who was a Spanish Symbolist painter and a friend of Utrillo and Picasso, painted scenes of Montmartre cafe life and streets. Jeunet uses Renoir, a painter of the Belle Epoque times, for his film. Renoir painted the daily workers’ lives of Parisians and simple pleasures.
Jeunet captures the simple pleasures of Paris daily life with Amelie, running her hands through beans, skipping stones on the St. Martin Canal, and cracking a creme brûlée with a spoon.