A huge dose of history and great wine to boot! The Procope is a wonderful stop over.
The Procope is said to be the oldest restaurant in all of Paris however it was in its beginings just a café.The procope was actually a pretty scandalous place in the St. Germain area, often frequented by a certain breed of woman, the Procope’s name appeared very often in the era’s police reports.
In the 1600s coffee was considered a pretty exotic beverage and was served famously in the Procope and some say this is what brought in Voltaire who is reported to have drunk fourty cups a day (with chocolate mixed into it). Like all cafés you could buy paper and ink and work on your correspondence. You could most probably hire one of the known authors squatting around to write your letters FOR you if you couldn’t do it yourself, the Procope was chock-a-block filled with likely candidates. As the Comédie Francais was established across the street obviously the Procope was a magnet for Patrons and creators alike. Many writters would come to the café in order to pitch their work or simply be in a closer proximity whenever they wanted to sell a piece It was a meeting place for not only Voltaire who rented a desk permanently there and also Robespierre, as well as american figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson who were likely to have shared some of the highlights of the American Revolution that lit fires under French revolutionaries. It is in this café that those very revolutionaries first darned the Pyrygian cap that would soon become a symbol of liberty for them movement.
After the revolution the Procope remained a literary hub and continues today. In the entrance hall you will find portraits of great (and many modern) writers that have been admitted into the high esteem of the café along with the likes of Pierre Leroux, Anatolle France, and Léon Gambetta.
I’ve been here on two occasions:
The first time was just passing through so that moy mom and my brother’s then girlfriend could see the sights and the second was for a birthday dinner with my dad.
In the café you can numerous articles from the days of the revolution such as Voltaire’s Favorite desk, that of Rousseau, What is said to be the last written declarations of Louis 16 and Marie Antoinette, and Napoleon’s hat that he left as collateral towards a bar tab that he never came back to pay. And in the instant with my mom and Megan we just went into the restaurant before they started the lunch service and asked if we could see Voltaire’s desk and they just let us go upstairs.
On my Birthday this year I had my dad with me so we decided to go there for my birthday dinner. I got all dressed up for the occasion and we had wine at the bar before going to the table (GREAT selection). We had such a wonderful time just looking at the menu. The restaurant is divided into a few intimate sections and even though the restaurant is all hustle and bustle and a pretty huge place you don’t have to have a hectic meal. I honestly don’t remember what I ordered that night but the people who were behind us had ordered the seafood platter and OH MY GOODNESS was that impressive looking. A massive plate on stilts with all the chilled shellfish you could imagine. Next time I go I want to get that! But I may have to bring 12 of my closest friends with me to finish it.
I will certainly be going back to this café the second the opportunity presents itself and you should certainly check it out.
For other restaurants in Paris checkout my category Restaurants in Paris HERECafé Procope 13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie 75006 Paris 11:30am-12pm www.procope.com/