Some places are truly a portal to another century, and Café Procope is that and more. This one has the particularity of being in business ever since 1686, a truly and undoubtedly remarkable feat. It is safe to say that the legacy of Chef Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli is alive and well. Shall we?
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As it is often true, legendary places are full of smaller, intricate, and older legends, and these smaller legends, oftentimes minuscule in comparison, are the layers keeping any fabled myth alive and giving it credibility. Café Procope is just that, a magnificent sentence in a legendary book. The establishment opened in 1686 by the Sicilian Chef Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, from whom the Café takes its name, in rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, and has been open ever since its inception!
While it opened in the 17th-century, Procope’s interior was refurbished in the late 80s of the past century. It most certainly did it justice, mind you, as the adopted 18th-century style was more than fitting of its halls and walls. The red Pompeian walls are a marvel to look at and goes really well with the interior décor, which includes a piano, chandeliers that put most crystals to shame, and honorable mementos from famous patrons past.
Speaking of books, many artists dwelt and communed on the tables of Café Procope’s, including France’s national Hero, writer, historian, and philosopher of the Enlightnment movement Voltaire, in case you were wondering. It might not be same as shaking hands with the man (that’d be ill-advised considering the implications…), but you can rejoice in the feeling to know that some of France’s future was decided inside these walls.
And it is set in a marvelously cozy and quaint street, don’t you think so? I mean, look at that wonderful mish-mash of 18th century stone pavement. Next time you’re by Paris, at least seek out la rue de l’Ancienne Comédie. You don’t have to go inside Procope, but at least snatch a photograph of its face!