Sunday, January 11, 2009

Le Café D'Amélie Poulain

My first night in Paris, I met Matthias at Starbucks near The Opera. He took me home and I passed out for...well...I don't quite remember how long. My second night in Paris, Matthias took me to Les Caves Populaires, the local wine bar, and I met all of his closest friends. I was still pretty tired and experiencing some language shock when Amélie Beau walked up and french kissed me (you know, once on each cheek...) with a smile and a "ça va?" I couldn't resist the urge to chuckle a little. I still can't resist the urge to refer to her as Amélie Poulain when Matthias is the only one listening.
You see, there is basically only one French movie that Americans know. The title was shortened simply to "Amelie" for the U.S. release but the original was "Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amélie Poulain." I probably don't have to explain any further since it seems like everyone has seen this movie but lets pretend you haven't. So the movie is about a girl named Amélie (quelle surprise!) who works at a little café/tabac (a place where tabacco is sold) in Paris. Today, as my friends and I were walking down my favorite street in Montmartre, they started talking about Amélie Poulain. Our actual friend, Amelie was not with us so I assumed they must be referring to the film. When I gave them a puzzled look, Bélinda said
"The bar of Amélie, c'est en face."
"What!? it's behind where?"

So apparently I've been living like 5 minutes away from the actual café where they filmed Amélie! After perusing les soldes (the sales) we wandered down a few side streets until we found Les 2 Moulins. I was giddily excited and literally could not stop smiling for at least 5 minutes after we had arrived and sat down. To be fair, my French counterparts were pretty into the experience as well. There were some various Amélie related articles hanging behind the counter and on the far wall was a giant movie poster signed by Audrey Tatou, the actress who played Amélie. There were, however, two major discrepancies between the real place and the one in the movie.

1. In the movie, one of Amélie's coworkers is a hypochondriac who runs the tobacco counter at the entrance of the café. The actual café does not have a tobacco counter. They just added that in so the hypochondriac could have a job.
2. In the movie, there is a door in the back of the café that leads to a payphone and toilet. My first instinct was to grab Matthias and force him into the toilet to recreate a rather climatic scene from the film where two characters engage in some loud and earth shattering activities. To my dismay, the door in the back had the word "Cuisine" written on it. So it simply lead to the kitchen. When the door opened I could see in and I realized that there was no room for a real toilet.

With my dreams crushed I ordered a Mocha Menthe and NOT the Crème Brûlée D'Amélie Poulain. Luckily, as we filed out the front door after finishing our drinks, I looked up, and every wrong that had occurred was righted by the sight of our dear friend, Amélie Beau, standing outside with a smile. Nobody else got it (like that time when my plane landed in Australia and Kylie Minogue came on the radio after a short "Welcome to Australia" message) but I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

1 comment:

  1. For those who have seen Jean-Pierre Jeunet's romantic French film, here is some background information and the filming locations of Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain in and around the Montmartre district of Paris.

    À bientôt,
    Alexandre Fabbri
    Brasserie Alizé