Les Brasseries de Paris

Timeless Paris, where epochs pass but buildings stand still, where a certain unmistakeable atmosphere reigns. As though sitting on a heated Parisian cafe terrace watching time go by, resigned to contemplating the show of people passing on the street.

To linger at the table of a brasserie on the Boulevard Montparnasse or the Boulevard Saint-Germain is to go in search of company but also of oneself. It is to dream, over a coffee or a local elderflower liquor, of escaping to the daydreams that each season seems to trail behind it. When it comes to the interiors of restaurants in the city of love, they tend to be intoxicating. Your eye is drawn from floor to ceiling as you try to absorb the sheer quantity of ornamentations. One projects oneself back in time. One imagines the prominent figures of the French and international scene of the day, whether the actors, models, performers or writers. They have all sat on the banquettes of your favourite brasseries: Lipp, Chez Georges, La Closerie des Lilas, Deux Magots, the list goes on…

This is the Paris that we love, with its air of being a small village, with its old brasseries pumping life back into the area around rue Pergolese. The atmosphere of each of these unique places has been captured for all time in this photography book: a labour of love by photographer Henk van Cauwenbergh. His photographs are full of life. Henk reveals the intensity of Paris, from its alleys to its major boulevards. Through this artist’s lens, images are suffused with a mix of history, emotions and originality. He presents iconic places, women, artists, passers-by, and more.

The photographer’s strength lies in his ability to transmit an exquisite sense of Paris in every scene he shoots. Each photograph thus becomes a celebration of life and a hymn to love. Throughout this work, Henk gives us glimpses into the private lives of real characters and celebrities from his intimate circle of friends. Its pages are filled with the warm smiles of those closest to him, people such as Charles Aznavour, Irène Silvagni and Chico, the founder of Gipsy Kings. The dream is indeed now yours.

Jean André Charial