Le Tabou was a cellar club located at 33 Rue Dauphine in Saint Germain des Pres, Paris. The club opened shortly after Club des Lorientais on 11 April 1947. The Club first went unnoticed, a late night drinking haunt of the local press distribution service but became famous as a haunt of the existentialists.
The early years
Le Tabou operated with a late licence, until 4am, that suited the local press distribution service, who contributed a significant portion of its clientele. The nighthawks began to frequent the cafe in 1945, attracted by the late night opening when leaving Le Flore or Les Deux Magots.
September 1946 saw the 'intellectualising' of Le Tabou. Poets including Tousky, Camille Bryen and de Beaumont began to frequent the cafe alongside painters such as Desseau and Wols. The neighbourhood writers including Queneau, Sartre, Canas and Pichette were soon also regular patrons alongside a host of others.
Jazz at Le Tabou
Jazz quickly established itself in this underground haven with a Trio composed of Boris Vian, his two brothers alongside anyone else with a desire to play. "This smoke-filled dive was to become a veritable legend on the Saint Germain scene, providing a meeting-point for young bohemians, as well as a host of famous musicians and artists. Boris Vian was a regular at Le Tabou, as were Jean Cocteau and the legendary jazz trumpet-player Miles Davis. Needless to say, Juliette Gréco also made it her local haunt"
"From July to August 1947 the party was in full stride. Agitated by the noise made by the late night clients as they left, the residents of Rue Dauphine had for sometime been enthusiastically emptying their chamberpots onto the heads of the imprudent customers. This only caused the clamor of the crowd to grow louder"
Complaints from the local residents caused Le Tabou's late license to be revoked and the club was forced to close at midnight. The opening of the late night celler club at 13 Rue Saint-Benoit coincided with Le Tabou's decline.
Les Deux Magots is a famous café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris, France. It once had a reputation as the rendezvous of the literary and intellectual élite of the city. It is now a popular tourist destination. Its historical reputation is derived from the patronage of Surrealist artists, intellectuals such as Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, and young writers, such as Ernest Hemingway. Other patrons included Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, and the American writer Charles Sutherland.
The Deux Magots literary prize has been awarded to a French novel every year since 1933.
Auguste Boulay bought the business in 1914, when it was on the brink of bankruptcy, for 400,000 francs (anciens). The present manager, Catherine Mathivat, is his great-great-granddaughter.