The oldest restaurant in Paris:
A LA PETITE CHAISE, Founded in 1680 !
The restaurant takes its name from the transformation of an old French word "cheze" of latin origin, casa meaning isolated house. The first construction of this building dates from 1610 and was located on the samall patch called "the little Louvre" near Grenelle. Between 1652 and 1680 the house has been raised.It is the one which still exists. Through recorded salesof the building we are certain that already in 1680 a certain Georges Rameau was selling wines in this very spot. With the wines, some food was being served and has been served since.
Thus we can affirm that this is the oldest restaurant in Paris according to records. The iron gate on the front door dates from this era. Ours is actually classified as a historical monument which prohibits us from altering appearance.
The reputation of the place spread quickly making it the "rendezvous" of many great minds. Located in the country, game came frome the surrounding forest, first was brought in from the Seine and local fresh farm chickens were appreciated. The most important Lords of the land were feasting on the local specialties. Nobles and nobility under the same roof. Philip d'Orleans, regent to be, brought his confessor, Cardinal Dubois and organized great parties ... confessions ? IIe was Vincent Maynon's friend, the owner, King Louis XIV's secretary , who married (august 1699) Catherine Hardouin-Mansart, daughter of Jules Hardoin Mansart, royal architect, in Versailles, who created the hall of mirrors... On the wall of the cabaret, was arare sight... a mirror, and the ladies were carried on their sedan chairs to see themselves, as mirrors were very rare in those days.
History tells us that, in the XIX th century, Vidocq, the famous policeman, made several important arrests in this place. The well known gourmet, Brillat Savarin, wrote exquisite taste of the menus in his book "la physiologie du goût" (1826). At this same time period, la Petite Chaise was likely to see Musset, George Sand, Juliette Recamier, Chateaubriand and others, living nearby.
In the beginning of the XX th century, artists and actors gathered here after show-time. Cabaret stars from Montmartre traveled to La Petite Chaise to be ssketched by Toulouse Lautrec. The tenor Alvarez and the baritone Noté loved to be seen in the upstairs cornerswith the bosomed ladies of their choice. Sometimes, some very "close" relationships continued after the dessert. Singers would pour out their hearts witkh love ballads under the restaurant windows. Great Collette was once invited by the "Crapouillot's crew (periodic) for her literary talent only... Politicians, such as François Mitterand, came from nearby Poly-Sci and cabinet members from the nearby National Assembly.
Today the scene is still mixed with artists, politicians, actors, writers...