Saint-Quentin, France is a lovely community of 50,000 people about an hour north of Paris. The city’s namesake, Quintinus, was a Christian martyr from about the third century. Occupied by the Germans in August 1914 during World War I, and again in WWII, about 70 percent of the city was destroyed.
Like all good European communities, there’s a lovely city square and public gathering space near the cathedral, and that’s where my sister and I were drawn on a warm spring afternoon.
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Where to Eat in Saint Quentin France
Looking for a restaurant and a restroom, we settled on the bright, outdoor cafe under the sign Brasserie L’Edito. A look around inside revealed a wonderful old printing press and tables made from printers boxes.
The wall decor was over-sized print blocks, used for great headlines of the day. Typewriters and ink wells and shelves filled with books all excited our senses. Newspapers draped from the ceiling.
Surely, we thought, this space had once been a newspaper office, destroyed during wars, despite the editors’ valiant efforts to keep the critical, lifesaving news before the people.
Maybe it had been a coffee shop where Albert Camus or Alexandre Dumas penned their novels, hidden away at a corner table. Ernest Hemingway, long a resident of Paris, perhaps enjoyed a getaway to this northern community and found inspiration for one of his works.
My sister and I had it all figured out and were thrilled at our serendipitous discovery. This is what travel is about, we agreed, allowing the world to reveal its treasures to us in the most unexpected ways.
French Restaurant Dedicated to Journalism
As it turns out, Brasserie L’Edito is a chain restaurant, kind of like Applebee’s or Chili’s. Their concept, their marketing hook, is the ancient art of print journalism. Edito means “editor” or “to edit” in French. They are all over northern France and Belgium. I saw at least three others during our journey — restaurants that is, not editors. Personally, I like the concept and felt right at home there.
So, we laughed at our mistake and enjoyed the sunshine and the setting and the fact that they put one ice cube in our Diet Cokes — just one — because we were Americans. That, too, is what travel is all about. Surely, Hemingway would have agreed.