Le Procope

January 22, 2007

Le Procope
13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie – 75006 Paris


Well, normally I would not bother to write up a blog post for a restaurant where we had a modest little lunch, but when it has been there since 1686, that is a different story. Le Procope is the oldest restaurant in France; Voltaire, Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin and Robespierre were regular clients. As the address implies, the Comédie Française used to be across the street.procope-3.jpg

In the late morning of January 16, 2007, Linda and I had been window shopping along the art galleries and little shops on the rue de Seine and the rue Mazarine and ended up, as if by chance, at the rue de Buci, a street of beautiful little food shops etc. After admiring the displays, we procope-6.jpgconsidered the many nearby possibilities for lunch, deciding on Le Procope, where we had lunched once before. (The rue de l’Ancienne Comédie is the extension of the rue Mazarine between the rue de Buci and the boulevard Saint Germain.)

We were seated at the same table as before near the window to the left of the front door.   Since they have a stand outside with a man shelling oysters, we started with procope-8.jpgsix “Speciales,” which were being featured that day. We then had a baked piece of “lieu-jaune,” which is a north Atlantic fish somewhat like cod, but a firmer meat. It was served on a bed of chopped endives cooked with orange; the fruit countered some of the natural bitterness of the endive. Our wine was a bottle of Jaboulet Saint Péray, a white wine from the middle Rhône Valley recommended in the menu. 

procope-4.jpgLe Procope is now owned by Les Frères Blanc, a successful and growing group of “brasseries” in Paris where the cuisine is always acceptable; http://www.blanc.net. Another one with a famous tradition is Au Pied de Cochon next to the old wholesale food market, Les Halles. Everyone interested procope-5.jpgin restaurants should go to Le Procope at least once because of its history and to see the many old rooms, six of which can be engaged for private events. Most of the restaurant is upstairs, so be sure to go up to the toilettes and wander around en route. 


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