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Caf des Deux Magots

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Caf� des Deux Magots The walk from my flat on Rue Saint-Benoit to my favourite caf�, Caf� des Deux Magots on Place Saint Germain des Pres is very short. As you walk down the road on any usual morning, you can see the beautiful Parisian architecture, smiling children hurrying to school with their bags stuffed full of books, fashionable Parisian couples enjoying a romantic morning walk before they have to part for their day of duties, but not today, or for the past six months. Today is 14th December 1940, exactly 182 days since the German occupation of Paris. Lost in my thoughts of the bleak era that is now upon us, I almost miss the heavy wooden door of the caf�. It takes all my strength to push it open and it creaks with the sound of weariness and disuse. The smell of toasted barley and chicory hit my nose and an immediate thought of how much I miss Paris as it was fills my head. The caf� is dusty and almost empty. It is colder than ever in the caf� and the chilly December air is prevalent even inside, due to lack of heating and bad insulation. I am obliged to leave my outer garments on, an incredibly rude gesture frowned upon in usual circumstances. ...read more.


I concentrate instead on two senior, presumably upper-class women sitting at the table directly adjacent to mine. They are discussing the favourite topic of formerly well-to-do Parisians - food shortages, which has only been increasing as the past six months have trudged on. They do not catch my eye like the beautiful young couple, because of their dull, unemotional and unexciting and routine conversation and obviously inferior looks; skin sagging with age, greying hair, unkempt figures, ugly, gnarled and knobbled feet, deep-set wrinkles around their eyes, and frown lines as deep as canyons. Unlike my interest in the couple's conversation, and the mystery aura surrounding them, the old women's "chit-chat" annoys me and just distracts me from my thoughts. After they finish their coffee, they depart, leaving me thankfully to inspect the rest of the depleted clientele. In a darker corner of the caf�, sits a young man of about twenty-two. He is dressed warmly in a coat, scarf, hat and leather gloves. His glasses balance precariously on the end of his nose as he stoops over the pages of a university textbook. His hair is messy and untrimmed and hangs around his eyes, evidently obscuring his view of the text, for every once in while he tucks the disorderly strands behind his ears. ...read more.


As I look over to see the reaction of my fellow caf� goers and am satisfied to find the young intellectuals face ridden with disgust at the man who represents all that is wrong with Paris at this moment in time. When I look for the couple's reaction instead of the expected disdain, I see a flash of wild fear cross their faces that is gone as soon as it came. However they never quite recover their composure. The officer leaves as suddenly as he came and the coupe seem visibly more relaxed. The young man barely looks up from his books and I decide I have imposed on their mornings enough. The weather outside matches the mood of the sombre caf� and rain is pouring down on the Paris streets making large puddles form on the pavements. I pay for my sorry excuse for a coffee, leaving tips of course, and step out onto the wet and muddy street. I survey it for a moment, take in the German propaganda posters, the soaking wet people walking past with their umbrellas in hand, the children jumping over puddles and ducking for cover and the occasional Nazi. Then I open my umbrella and disappear into the crowd of pedestrians, leaving the caf�, Jean-Claude, the young man and the beautiful couple behind in the glass window. Valentina Spektor English GCSE Coursework Original Writing 1 ...read more.

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