The inauguration of La Coupole on December 20, 1927, on Boulevard Montparnasse was one of the most celebrated events in Paris during the Roaring Twenties. The 1500 bottles prepared for the 2500 carefully chosen famous guests wasn't even enough. Anecdotes and stories of happenings in the place spread around Paris and soon a legend was born.
This favorite hangout of artists was created by two Auvergne natives, Ernest Fraux and René Lafon.
Their great idea was to buy an old wood and coal 1000m² warehouse on Boulevard Montparnasse and open one of the best brasseries in the capital. It would rival the Dôme, which is situated on the corner of Boulevard Montparnasse and Raspail, and the Select across the street.
To accomplish that, Ernest Fraux gathered some of the best architects and decorators of the period. He wanted to make the place as pleasing as possible and something special. In the beginning it was an enormous single room, as big as a railway station, supported by 33 symetrical pillars. With a restaurant and terrace on the first floor.
Meanwhile, nearby, there as a whole group of painters called the Montparnos, who had left Montmartre and had taken over Montparnasse. So artists such as Marie Vassilieff, Matisse, Léger and Kisling were approached to do frescoes on each column.
The Coupole was an instant success. It was the meeting place for anybody who was anyone in Paris. This trendy place attracted the great artists and personalities of the literary and art worlds: Cocteau, Radiguet, Aragon, Dali, Picasso, Foujita, the photographer Man Ray with his model Kiki, Zadkine, Kisling, Sartre, Giacometti, Simone de Beauvoir, Artaud, Colette, and more. The enormous bar had welcomed people as famous as Kessel, Beckett and 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 over to conquer Paris.
Today the atmosphere of the most famous Parisian brasserie is still intact. Guests come to savor the most famous lamb curry in Paris or a seafood platter. They also come to admire the original Art Deco design, which was renovated in 1988. The original colours of the columns, notably the garnet red and the green that was all the rage in the 1920s, have been rediscovered.
In 2007, The Coupole celebrated its 80th anniversary.
edited by the Press society PARIS BISTRO EDITIONS - All rights
reserved - 2008