The Café Procope is the oldest restaurant of Paris in continuous operation. It was in 1686 that Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, a gentleman from Palermo, set up his coffee house in the rue des Fossés Saint-Germain (present-day rue de l’Ancienne Comédie). The excellent quality of drinks and sorbets, the pleasant setting and the proximity of the Ancienne Comédie Française quickly made his establishment a meeting place for fine wits and intellectuals.
The world’s first literary café was born and, for over two centuries, everyone with a name, or who hoped to have one, in the world of letters, arts and politics was a regular to the Café Le Procope. From La Fontaine to Voltaire, Rousseau, Beaumarchais, Balzac, Hugo, Verlaine to mention but a few, the list of Procope’s « regulars » varies little from that of the great names of French literature.
In the 18th century, it was a seedbed for liberal ideas and the history of the Encyclopædia is intimately linked to that of Procope where Diderot, d’Alembert and Benjamin Franklin could be seen. During the Revolution, Robespierre, Danton and Marat met here and Lieutenant Bonaparte left his hat here as a pledge.
Today, the Procope is emerging from the great shadows of its history. Symbol of the past, Voltaire’s table testifies to permanency, while preparing the way for new pages of glory.
For more information, please visit its website and Facebook page.