A crowd gathered at Paris on the Platte Saturday, some taking photos, others with tears in their eyes. They came to bid farewell to the café that for nearly three decades served as a popular hangout for poets, musicians -- and all comers.
There was little warning before the closing. A Facebook message on Friday night simply told followers “Au revoir. ... after 28 years it's time.. tonight we have wine, tomorrow we have coffee, and then we say goodbye."
The coffeehouse at 1553 Platte St. was a mainstay in LoDo long before the area became hip – and developed.
Owner Faye Maguire said as she took customers' orders, "The time had come." She added that she was bowled over by the large number of people who came through for one last latte.
“It has been overwhelming and it has been humbling. It has truly just made me realize how deeply people in the Denver area have been attached to Paris on the Platte all these years and how much it has meant to so many people," she said.
Maguire is now going through a book where customers left their memories and has plans to share those with the community.
Rent was cheap in the early days of Paris, Maguire said. There was little else in the area but "My Brother's Bar," where Jack Kerouac once hung out and the old Forney vehicle museum. Then came re-development: The Forney moved and REI replaced it. And a slew of condos were built. Other shops popped up over the years and rents went up, Maguire said.
Maguire said she found another local business to take over the space.
“I would rather kill myself than sell it out to a big corporation so I’m really, really excited about what the transition is going to look like," Maguire said.
She said she couldn't discuss specifics about the deal, but offered that a restaurant was likely to inhabit the space.
As for Maguire, she got a master’s degree in psychology about a decade ago and entered private practice for a while. But duties at Paris called her back in and she put that career on hold. Now she plans to return to psychology as a retirement career.