From time to time in history we hear about places that have it all: unique atmosphere, great food a certain something that turns them into a hotspot for people who changed history.
Back in the 17th century, an italian businessmen from Palermo, Italy, moved to Paris to open up a coffee house, little did he know that his establishment “Cafe Le Procope” would become a meeting place for many intellectuals, artists, scientists and over all brilliant figures such as La Fontaine to Voltaire, Rousseau, Balzac, Hugo and Alexander von Humboldt amongst others.
According to their website it was at Le Procope where Diderot, d’Alembert and Benjamin Franklin could be often seen enjoying a fine meal and delighting in the company of friends.
Not all the encyclopédistes drank forty cups of coffee a day like Voltaire, who mixed his with chocolate, but they all met at Procope, as did Benjamin Franklin, John Paul Jones and Thomas Jefferson.
Mademoiselle Elsa Barreda (@baldhor) foodie and nerd extraordinaire who is currently living in Paris. Following my advice, she very kindly sent proof of her visit to this magnificent place.
I must inform you that she did demand the waiter to show her Humboldt’s portrait (assuming, he’d be there somewhere amongst the many portraits of former famous patrons) to her shock the *very French* waiter didn’t know who “U-mbooolddd” was, and sadly there was no portrait of him either.
I’ll wrap up this post with this quote by Louis-Sébastien Mercier on Voltaire: “All the works of this Paris-born writer seem to have been made for the capital. It was foremost in his mind when he wrote. While composing, he was looking towards the French Academy, the public of Comédie française, the Café Procope, and a circle of young musketeers. He hardly ever had anything else in sight.”
Want a taste of history? You can visit the Café at 13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris.