The news about the terrible terrorist attacks in Paris got me thinking about the city in all its beauty. Art in France covers all the aspects of life – music, acting, the written word, architecture, fashion, etiquette … and food, of course! There is one place in the City of Light which incorporates all of these: the oldest, still working restaurant in Paris. Let me introduce you to Le Procope, Paris.
Some intriguing facts about Le Procope:
- Le Procope was opened in 1686 (!!!) and some of the dishes served here are prepared according to the original recipes from that time.
- The restaurant is specialized in traditional French cuisine and its specialities involve use of calf’s head, casseroles, caramel and other sounding delicious words.
- The homemade ice cream is one of the best in Paris as the restaurant was founded by the Italian man from Palermo and of course, reflects its Italian heritage.
- The interiors are not the original ones but without a doubt demonstrate the Parisian atmosphere from the previous century. Some collector items like Napoleon’s hat (that he left here as a pledge when he was still just a lieutenant) make the place really special. For the people not impressed by the history, the classical finely decorated lampshades and the walls in red contrasting so well with the gold frames on mirrors and painting should be enough charming.
- It still feels very artistic. At the time when it was founded, the restaurant was a café that gathers intellectuals and artist 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?!
- The location is perfect. Very easy to find and right in the heart of the Latin Quarter and not far from the Boulevard Saint-Germain. If you come with metro, you should exit at Odeon Station. At a minutes’ walk around you will find typical Parisian places like 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. Though, if you don’t succeed in this, you can still have the pleasure to dine in as the restaurant has 8 rooms and it is quite spacious.
- Ask for the specialities. 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.
- Dress elegantly. There is no dress code for visiting this restaurant. As it is very popular among tourist, you will see different people here. But still, as the French people are famous for their classic elegance, this restaurant and its personnel make no difference.
- Foresee enough time to enjoy your meal and time in Le Procope. The atmosphere and the food are so pleased that you will want to elongate the pleasure of this experience.
Where to find Le Procope: Address: 13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie – 75006 PARIS
P.S. Few notes on what is happening and why you shouldn’t be afraid of travelling to Paris:
My usual reaction to news about terrorist attacks and crisis is: Well, now is the time to go to visit the place! I believe we shouldn’t be brainwashed by the popular media and the devastating news it shows on a daily basis. Often, although terrible things happen for the people at the place, a destination is not as dangerous as the media makes us think.
I am not from the people taking the inconsiderate risk either! I’m just saying that after all the tension and extra safety measures stay in the past and the life in Paris go normal (almost), we shouldn’t be afraid to travel to France. The country needs our support as tourists and one way to do that is to support its economy. Don’t be afraid, be informed!