This famous café of Saint-Germain-des-Prés claims to be the oldest café in Paris, as old as La Tour d'Argent (1582) and A La Petite Chaise (1680). This might be true, but, since there is no document to evidence it for any of the three facilities, we can believe it, especially after this charming tour in the past.
The property has two fronts, one of which opens on the courtyard of Commerce Saint-André, which you can reach after a very nice 12 minutes walk from Relais du Louvre.
Le Procope, officially founded in 1986, opened its doors in 1689. This was a café for artists, intellectuals and politicians. It was frequented by Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot and d'Alembert.
The restaurant has put a plate on its window stating that Benjamin Franklin drafted his Treaty of Alliance between Louis XVI and the New Republic in Le Procope. Actually, this was Treaty of Amity and Commerce signed by the King of France and the United States of North America on February 6, 1778. We want to believe it.
During the French Revolution, Le Procope was quite an active place. The Club des Cordeliers had its gatherings in Le Procope, together with Danton and Marat, who lived in the yard. The place used to foster the revolutionary movement, as Robespierre and the Jacobinsfrequented the restaurant. Camille Desmoulins' citation is placed on one of its walls.
Le Procope was the place where Paul Verlaine was photographed drinking alone, as he liked.
The restaurant has two levels; it is large with many rooms decorated in the French style of the eighteenth century.
Le Procope is a historical site classified as a historical monument in 1962. The prices are rather high here and the value for money is not quite humane, as reported by clients on review sites.
The restaurant offers seafood and traditional home cooking.
As the restaurant's timetable is very flexible, you may come there for tea and order flamed pancakes under Grand Marnier sauce (€11.70), chocolate profiteroles (€10.20) or iced amaretto sabayon (€10.60). An extraordinary adventure for a reasonable budget.
Cours du Commerce Saint-André – 75006 Paris
Phone: +33 (0)1 40 46 79 00
Sunday to Wednesday, from 11:45 am to midnight.
Thursday to Saturday, from 11:45 am to 1:00 am.