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Posted: Wed Feb 29 2012
Le Procope restaurant on Paris’ Left Bank is the oldest café in the city, a place whose starry list of clientele reads like a Who’s Who of French literature and history. Voltaire, Robespierre, Balzac, Verlaine, Hugo, Napoleon, George Sand, Oscar Wilde have all dined in these elegant rooms. Founded in 1686, Le Procope occupies a three-story townhouse – now a national monument -- divided into nine dining rooms and salons. Walls are deep red and ochre, panelled and hung with portraits of historic clientele. There are mirrors, crystal chandeliers, traditionally upholstered chairs, layers of white table linens and an atmosphere that encompasses both museum and lively restaurant. The menu is traditional French bourgeois with dishes like Breton oysters and moules in season, steak tartare with house frites, and tete de veau en cocotte prepared as it was in 1686.