Procope Cafe, Paris


     The Procope’s history is closely linked with eighteenth century revolutionary ideas.
     Sicilian Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli opened Le Procope, a café/ice cream establishment, in 1686. He may (or may not have) adopted the name Procopio from the historian Procopius.

     The opening marked the beginning of some serious coffee drinking in Paris.

Photo by Daneen Kinsey

     Procope was originally marketed as a lemonade shop, and its sumptuous décor combined with its air of sophistication attracted a clientele keen to distance itself from the more loutish elements of the day. The name “café” was given to the establishment only when the consumption of coffee outsold that of other beverages, including like cognac.

     Shortly after Procope debuted, the Comédie Française opened across the road. The café/ice cream establishment soon became a meeting ground for actors, writers, musicians and poets.

Photo by the Griffeths

     The Café Procope was the first French location that served coffee, which had recently been imported from Austria, where the Viennese “got their caffeine zonks” from the Turks during a lull in the Ottoman siege of their city ca. 1623.

     Coffee was considered a subversive beverage in France at the time the Procope opened. It took daring to drink coffee then, but the freethinkers consumed it. Voltaire reportedly drank (to continue reading click on: PROCOPE CAFÉ, PARIS Part 2 )



Procope Cafe, Paris: Taking photos is an international venture



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