Café Tortoni  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Café Tortoni is a coffeehouse located at #825 of Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Inaugurated on 1858 by a French immigrant whose surname was Touan, it was named Tortoni after the local in Paris at Boulevard des Italiens where the elite of the Parissiense culture gathered in the 19th century. Inspired by Fin de siècle coffee houses.

Previously it was the location of the Templo Escocés ("Scottish Temple"), and the Tortoni was located at the corner of Rivadavia and Esmeralda. In 1880 it was moved to its present location, but had its entrance from the other side of the block at Rivadavia street. In 1898 the entrance of Avenida de Mayo was opened, and the facade was redone by architect Alejandro Christophersen. At the end of the 19th century the café was bought by another Frenchman; Celestino Curutchet.

In the cellar located at the basement, La Peña (see peña) was inaugurated in 1926, which fomented the protection of the arts and literature until its disintegration in 1943. Among its visitors were Alfonsina Storni, Baldomero Fernández Moreno, Juana de Ibarbourou, Arthur Rubinstein, Ricardo Vines, Roberto Arlt, José Ortega y Gasset, Jorge Luis Borges, Molina Campos and Benito Quinquela Martín.

The tables of the café saw renowned figures such as politicians Lisandro de la Torre and Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear, popular idols Carlos Gardel and Juan Manuel Fangio, international figures like Albert Einstein, Federico García Lorca and Juan Carlos de Borbón.

Currently the basement works as stage for jazz and tango artists, and presentation of books and poetry contests. The coffeehouse conserves the decoration of its first years, has a library and at the back facilities to play billiards, dominoes and darts.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Café Tortoni" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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