LATEST TRAVEL TIP
Hidden exclusives from The Urban Explorer!
CROISSANTS AND AN ORIGINAL ZINC BAR
Cafe La Palette at 43 Rue de Seine (6th)
Métro 4, 10 Odéon, Mabillon
What's in store:
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries so-called 'Zinc Bars' were common in Paris. These unpretentious establishments frequented by artists and the working class were named because of the cheap galvanized metal used to waterproof their countertops (grander venues opted for marble). Customers used the dull grey surface not only to rest their drinks on but also to lay down their payment. Émile Zola mentions 'Le Zinc' in his novel Le Ventre de Paris, and the name soon became synonymous with the typical neighbourhood bar. Although many bars had their zinc removed during the Second World War a few originals still remain, and they retain something of their original atmosphere. Nestled amongst art galleries near the heart of the Left Bank, La Palette at 43 Rue de Seine (6th) is a fine example. This quintessential café-bar and bistro opened in 1903 and comprises two rooms, a smaller front one containing the bar and a larger back one for dining. Gallery owners and art students are regulars here, explaining both the name of the place as well as the artists’ palettes hanging on the wall. Pull up a chair in a corner and enjoy a glass of wine or a Café au Lait. You’ll be in good company since not only Picasso, Braque and Cézanne were here but later also Hemingway, Jim Morrison, and Catherine Deneuve.
Around the corner at 20 Rue Jacob is the former home of Natalie Barney (1876-1972), one of the most colourful expatriate writers to spend time in Paris. In the back garden is a so-called Temple of Friendship (a former Revolutionary-era meeting place) where amongst others Barney entertained Apollinaire, Truman Capote, Josephine Baker, Jean Cocteau, T. S. Eliot, Isadora Duncan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce. The Mata Hari even rode a bejewelled horse across the lawn!
As well as La Palette, this area of the Left Bank is known for its idiosyncratic cafes and watering holes.
KLIMT'S LAST STUDIO
The Klimt Villa at Feldmühlgasse 15a
U4 Unter St. Veit
What's in store:
An abandoned neo-Baroque villa built during the 1920s, which for many years was thought to have obliterated all traces of the last studio of Gustav Klimt. Research in the 1990s revealed that in reality the villa was built around the studio, the fabric of which still remains. Although not currently open to the public it can be glimpsed from the nearby streets. The surrounding garden was painted by Klimt in 1912 in his Orchard with Roses. The structure is the only remaining studio occupied by Klimt and yet is known by few people. UPDATE 2013: the villa has now been restored to its original appearance and can be visited www.klimtvilla.at.
The grave of Gustav Klimt can be found in the Hietzinger Friedhof, alongside fellow Secessionists Koloman Moser and Otto Wagner.
A café is located at the nearby railway crossing on Hietzinger Hauptstrasse. Nearby at number 101 is the former home of the artist Egon Schiele.
FINDING THE FREUDS
Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof), Simmeringer Haupstrasse, Gate 1
Tram 71 (Simmering) from Schwarzenbergplatz, alight Zentralfriedhof Tor 1
What's in store:
A sprawling semi-abandoned Jewish cemetery established in 1863. Despite widespread destruction during the Nazis' Reichskristallnacht in 1938, around 80,000 burials remain. In amongst the overgrown trees are many prominent graves, including writer Arthur Schnitzler, members of the Rothschild Family, and both parents of pioneering psychotherapist Sigmund Freud. It is not easy to locate the grave of Jacob and Amalia Freud, which occupies Group 50, Row 4, Grave 53. See if you can find it.
Adjacent to the Jewish cemetery are Catholic and Protestant burial grounds, including the graves of many famous composers, scientists, entertainers, and politicians. Separate sections are reserved for Muslims (all graves pointing towards Mecca), Russian and other Orthodox Christians, Buddhists (complete with its own stupa), Mormons, babies, and those who gave their bodies to science. A Funeral Museum will open at the cemetery in late 2014.
Opposite the cemetery's Gate 1 is the Schloss Concordia, a crumbling wooden villa illuminated exclusively by candlelight, and the most eccentric menu in all Vienna. A must is the unique lentil-filled Superschnitzel, which is rolled and coated with corn flakes, and served on a silver tray with seemingly endless trimmings. Memorable!