In France, art and culture cover all aspects of life – music, acting, written word, architecture, fashion, etiquette … and most of all – food! The oldest restaurant in Paris, still operating today, encompasses the French philosophy of living and eating since 1686. Let me introduce you Le Procope.
This post was first published on When Woman Travels.
The story goes that the young Napoleon Bonaparte was a frequent customer at Le Procope.
Intriguing facts about the oldest restaurant in Paris
Le Procope was opened in 1686 and some of the meals served here are prepared following the original recipes from that time.
The restaurant specialises in traditional French cuisine and some of its specialties involve the use of calf’s head, casseroles, and caramel.
The homemade ice cream at Le Procope is one of the best in Paris as the restaurant was founded by an Italian man from Palermo and reflects its Italian heritage.
The interiors are not the original ones but demonstrate the Parisian atmosphere from the previous century. Some collector items like the hat of Napoleon (that he left here as a pledge when he was still just a lieutenant, or so they say) make the place feel special. For the people not impressed by the history, the classical décor of finely decorated lampshades and walls in red contrasting so well with the gold frames on mirrors and paintings would be enough charming.
At the time when it was founded, the restaurant was a café that gathered intellectuals and artists to exchange ideas. Later, at the time of the French revolution, Robespierre, Marat and Danton could be seen here. If only the walls could speak, what could they tell us?!
It’s very easy to find and right in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Not far from the Boulevard Saint-Germain. If you come by metro, you should exit at Odeon Station. At a minute’s walk around the restaurant, you will find Le Marais and many small streets, each one of them with its unique Parisian atmosphere.
Practical advice for visiting Le Procope
Make a reservation. It is better to book your table in advance, especially during public holidays. If you don’t succeed to make a reservation in advance, don’t discourage. You might still have the chance as the restaurant has eight salons and it is quite spacious.
To know what to expect, check the menu before you go, you will find what’s on offer, including historic meals and prices.
Ask for the specialties. You have a large choice of traditional dishes, all of them delicious. Take the chance to taste something special and unique that you can’t have somewhere else.
Be elegant. There is no dress code for visiting the oldest restaurant in Paris. Still, as the French people are famous for their classic elegance, this restaurant and its personnel make no difference.
Take your time. Plan enough time to enjoy your meal at Le Procope. The atmosphere and food here are unique and you want to enjoy your experience to its fullest.
More about Le Procope
You will find the oldest restaurant in Paris at 13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie – 75006 PARIS. For a scrumptious peek at the food they serve, have a look at their Instagram.