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Oldest restaurant in Paris??

tom in sf Mar 19, 2010 10:37 AM

Ok, I've now read about three different retsaurants claiming to be the oldest in Paris. Does anyone know which one is true?

Café Procope
La Petite Chaise
Tour d'Argent

  1. adrian Mar 20, 2010 03:32 PM

    Auberge Nicolas Flamel? 1400-something, non?

    2 Replies
    1. re: adrian
      souphie Mar 21, 2010 01:25 AM

      The house is apparently from 1407, so it is in the run for oldest building in town, cathedral excepted. But it was not created as a house where you pay for eating -- unlike the others we're talking about. "L'Auberge" was more like a Resto du Coeur -- feeding the poor in exchange for prayers. As I pointed out earlier, none of them was a a "restaurant" in the modern sense. I don't think l'Auberge Flamel has been an actual restaurant until recently.

      1. re: souphie
        adrian Mar 21, 2010 04:40 AM

        of course.

    2. s
      Simon Mar 20, 2010 12:01 PM

      Procope is very old, but it's very mediocre...i'd recommend avoiding it...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Simon
        souphie Mar 20, 2010 12:16 PM

        Second that. As they say, it's a café, not a restaurant.

        1. re: souphie
          John Talbott Mar 20, 2010 12:52 PM

          And my lunch at Chaise merited only a 4.2/10 but I concluded that I'd return if I once again intended to tour the Glass House in the afternoon. http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...

          1. re: souphie
            adrian Mar 20, 2010 03:35 PM

            Actually, it started off as a café (the first?) and has become a restaurant

        2. souphie Mar 19, 2010 12:50 PM

          Le Procope is the oldest CAFE in Paris -- 1686.

          La Petite Chaise is the oldest "restaurant" that it still in the same building. The building it's in is from 1610, and there are evidence that it was already called La Petite Chaise and was a wine merchant (and they would serve some food) in 1680.

          La Tour d'Argent is indeed older as it was founded in 1582, but it was not in the current building, which is a 19th century building. The current dining room was built in 1936 by André Terrail, who also created the Hotel George V, the current Four Seasons.

          The location, however, was more or less the same and already emphasised the view over the Seine and the Cathedral Notre-Dame. The restaurant was actually named after the buiding which was a tall tower. Also, it was a fancy restaurant from the beginning, since already King Henry IV (the French one, not the Shakespeare one) ate there. This aristocratic character seems to be the reason the initial buidling did not make it through the French revolution.

          In any case, La Tour is probably the oldest restaurant that still exists.

          That said, none of these two actually was a "restaurant" as such when they were created, since the first establishment named "restaurant" was created by Boulanger in 1765 in Paris.

          2 Replies
          1. re: souphie
            John Talbott Mar 19, 2010 07:20 PM

            Good summary Soup; I'd posted a now lost post (my server/ISP was en colere) earlier today that said that when I'd eaten at La Petite Chaise last year they'd adverised all over the place that they were the oldest, but that in a charming book "A Shopping Guide To Paris" 1929 (priced now at $80-90 on line) the Tour d'Argent, pressed ducks and all got the nod.

            John Talbott's Paris

            1. re: John Talbott
              tom in sf Mar 20, 2010 08:52 AM

              Souphie and John, you guys are amazing. And you're both saving my trip big time. Thank you.

              Max, just wanted to let my group know where we're going and the history. Didn't want to say 'oldest' anything until I got some clarity. Now I can include Souphie's post and have a much more interesting introduction. I love the subtleties like oldest cafe vs. oldest restaurant vs. in the same location, etc. And the bit about the tower not surviving the revolution because the King dined there. Wonderful.

              Merci bien, mes amis.

          2. m
            Maximilien Mar 19, 2010 11:35 AM

            What's the question ? which one is still worth going to ?

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