A Persian Cafe, Edward Lord Weeks

Monday, 22 April 2013

Introducing the Café

The Café de la Régence was a famous watering hole for philosophers and chess-players of the 18th and 19th Century. My attempts to research its history have turned up varying accounts of the dates of its founding; however, it seems clear that at some point between 1670 and 1720 it was opened as a coffee house at the Place-du-Palais-Royal. Around about 1852, it was forced to move due to the Emperor Louis-Napoleon's renovation of the city of Paris, and by 1855 it was settled on the Rue Saint-Honoré. The chess there entered something of a decline, and when Paul Morphy visited in 1858 he soundly defeated all of the top players. As of 1998, there was still a café there, but under a different name; the chess-room apparently closed during World War One.

This blog hopes to recreate something of the café during its heyday: a mixture of philosophy, chess, and other highbrow pursuits. It is intended as something of a conversation, so if anyone other than myself wishes to write for this blog (based on my previous experience of blogging, I would be lucky to get regular commenters, let alone co-writers, but one can always hope) then providing an article is competently written and does not go out of its way to cause offence, I would be very happy to have it on here.

"Highbrow" should not be confused with "important". I intend to write about whatever interests me, and about which I can express a reasonably educated opinion. I may link to things I see elsewhere that are of interest, but that is not the purpose of this blog.

With all that out of the way, I hope to write an interesting and long-running blog. All comments are welcome (unless you're a spambot) and I promise not to reject your views without hearing you out. After all, my own are weird enough.