20th December 1927, the inauguration of La Coupole, on the boulevard du Montparnasse
is a grand premier in Paris during the mad years. The 1500 bottles prepared
for the 2500 carefully chosen guests won't be enough. Anecdotes pass around
Paris and a legend is born.
It must be said that the establishment is in the
hands of an Aveyronnais like Boubal (Le Flore) or Marcelin Cazes
(Lipp). He is called Ernest Fraux.
The great idea? Buy an old wood and coal warehouse
of about 1000m² on the boulevard Montparnasse and create
one of the best brasseries in the capital. Thus rivals with the
Dôme situated on the corner of the boulevards Montparnasse
and Raspail and the Select just opposite.
For that, Ernest Fraux gathered some of the best
architects and decorators of the period. He had to make the place
as pleasant as possible and a bit special... In fact he arranged
and decorated an enormous single room, as big as a railway station,
supported by 33 symetrical pillars. With a restaurant and terrace
on the first floor.
Fortunately just nearby there is a whole group
of painters, the Montparnos, who had left Montmartre and taken
over Montparnasse. So Marie Vassilieff, Matisse, Léger,
and Kisling are approached to do a fresco on each column.
The Coupole was an instant success. It was the
meeting place for the whole of Paris. This trendy place attracted
the great artists and personalities of the literary world : Cocteau,
Radiguet, Aragon, Dali, Picasso, Foujita, the photographer Man
Ray with his model Kiki, Zadkine, Kisling, Sartre, Giacometti,
Simone de Beauvoir, Artaud, Colette .... The enormous bar had
welcomed people as famous as Kessel, Beckett or Hemingway. The
underground dance floor at the Coupole also became a mythical
place. It hosted Josephine Baker and all the great names of blues
and jazz who came to conquer Paris.
Today the atmosphere "parisian brasserie" is
still intact. You come to eat the the most famous lamb curry
in Paris or a seafood platter. You can also come to admire the
Art Deco renovated in 1988. The original colours of the columns,
notably the garnet red and the green that was all the rage in
the 20's have been rediscovered.
In 2007, The Coupole has celebrated it's 80th
edited by the Press society PARIS BISTRO EDITIONS - All rights
reserved - 2008