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Prof .Anbroy Tealdi 













" The Need of Change." 


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By ■ , . * 

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Gopyright, 1011 
By Thcv Ridgway Ck>inpany 

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'/(Copyright, 1912 
By Jobn Lane Company 

in Memory of 
Menus Met and Conquered 



List of Illustrations 

If you have not the energy to find it, you 
don't deserve to know the Restaurant 
du Coucou • • • * FrontUpiece 


Beside the luminous doorway huddled a 
little group of onlookers . . .18 

Aside from the fact that a pair of profes- 
sionals give the "Apache" dance among 
the tables, there is no reason for sitting 
there ....••. 24 

Long (and high) live the army! . .32 

When Fr^d^ric carves a Rouen duck people 
lay down their knives and forks to 
watch, and waiters stand about in 
prayerful attitudes . • . .40 

Shedding a glamour on the quartier and soup 
on their Windsor ties . . . .48 

The spirit of Parisian restaurants . . 58 
She is starring in opera in America this year 66 


Paris a la Carte" originally appeared in 
Everybody*s Magcudne. 


In the foreword to his "Gastronomic 
Promenade in Paris," published 1804, the 
eminent and capacious Grimod de la Rey- 
ni^re expressed himself as follows: 

"7%e author will regret neither the cares 
nor the indigestions his researches have caused 
him, if the alimentary art owes new progress 
to this effort.'' 

In the account, which follows, of certain 

of my own "gastronomic promenades in 

Paris,'' conducted (principally in taxis) 

more than one hundred years after Grimod, 

the reader may miss the sweetly melancholy 

note of the old gourmand. I have no cares 

and but few indigestions to look back upon. 

Nor am I in the least concerned as to new 

progress of the alimentary art, which — as 


lo Preface 

at present practiced in the agreeable city of 
Paris — meets with my more than cordial 

In making my researches I carried with 
me no sense of deep responsibility, no 
gloomy thoughts on the "decadence of the 
French cuisine," of which one hears in 
Paris. My principal accoutrements were, 
upon the contrary, an almost frivolous op- 
timism, an appreciative palate, a roving 
eye, and a substantial set of banknotes* I 
may have also carried, upon some of my 
excursions, a pencil and a memorandum 
book, but the notes I made were not so in- 
teresting as those I spent. I did not make 
the notes I spent. They were supplied to 
me by the very kindly Editors of Every- 
body's Magazine, who, in the interests of 
science, financed my expedition. 

It is true that the Editors of Everybody's 
Magazine stayed at home, while the writer 
crossed the seas and risked digestion, even 

Preface n 

life itself, in the course of his explorations. 
But this fact does not justify a charge of 
cowardice against them. It is not given to 
all of us to take the field. Not all of us may 
go into action to the martial music of the 
Hungarian orchestra, may hear the hoarse 
orders of head waiters, the clatter of wine 
coolers being rushed forward into action, 
the heavy detonation of the magnums, and 
the incessant popping of the pints and 
splits. Not all of us may witness the swift, 
silent rushes and retreats of the light infan- 
try of omnibus boys, and the flashing of 
steel blades as brave hearts and gouty 
hands surround the floral centrepiece and 
try conclusions with Sole d la MarguSry or 
Canard pressS. No, there must be unsung 
heroes, who, staying ingloriously at home, 
yet furnish the sinews of war. The writer 
therefore gives his thanks to the Editors of 
The present volume contains much ma- 

i« Preface 

terial which, owing to the limitations of 
magazine space, to recent restaurant his- 
tory in Paris, and to further information 
which has come to the hands of the author 
from various sources, did not appear in the 
original publication. One correspondent, 
after flattering me upon the thoroughness 
with which he is kind enough to say my 
original work was done, utters a mild re- 
proach upon my negligence in leaving out 
his pet among the smaller Paris restaurants : 
Au petit Riche, in the rue Lepelletier, which 
he says is more than very good and less than 
very moderate. Another mentions Lucas'. 
I shall look forward to the Petit Riche and 

Another friend — no less a person than 
the Reformed Diplomat, himself — ^wrote to 
me from Paris, on hearing that this publica- 
tion was impending. "Don't make it guide 
booky," he urged. "Make it entertaining 
and amusing." His order is a difficult one 

Preface 13 

to fill. Much as I dislike to do so, I must 
admit that I have written with the purpose 
to be "helpful." 

The letter which I have found most dif- 
ficult to answer came from a gentleman 
whose daughter was in Paris with another 
lady. "I wish you would tell me," he 
wrote, "to just which places they may go, 
without transgressing the conventions." 

I wish I knew. I would tell him, if I 
did. American women abroad are con- 
stantly transgressing the conventions in 
such matters — transgressing them in a man- 
ner altogether breezy and delightful. Am- 
ericans rush in where Frenchwomen fear 
to tread, and, to drop into the argot, "get 
away with it." Yet I cannot take the 
responsibility of advising them to do so. 
I advise them not to. I strongly recom- 
mend them to refrain from going out to 
dinner unescorted (mothers, aunts, and 
duennas do not come within my definition 

14 Preface 

of the word " escort ")i and to patronise 
only the more conventional establishments 
for luncheon. 

But all these things depend upon how 
much you think that women— married or 
unmarried — ought to know and see and 
do. I have taken married ladies into 
Maxim's, to Montmartre, and to the places 
on the "Boul' Mich'" (because they in- 
sisted I should do so). Such places de- 
press some women, amuse others.. But I 
have never noticed any deleterious effects, 
except those manifested by the husband of 
one lady. He came along and violently 
disapproved. But that I did not mind at 
all; the lady made herself proportionately 
more agreeable. 

So there you are! And may your viands 
taste like magic dishes from some fire fairy's 
golden casseroUe. J. S. 

New York, January, 1912. 


Paris a la Carte 

THEATRES and music-halls were 
emptying; caf6s filling up. Under 
the blue glare of arc-lights, the Paris 
boulevards had lost their last vestige of 
reality and attained their ultimate theatric 
touch; the rows of horse-chestnuts had be- 
come stage trees, with papier-mach6 trunks 
and preposterous green paper leaves; the 
women, walking in the patched lights be- 
neath, unearthly beings, with reptilian eyes 
and poisonous cheeks. Cabmen, soldiers, 
chauffeurs, policemen, boulevardiers, were 
playing their parts like trained comedians; 
the rest of us were ''supers," marching and 
countermarching to the music of the mid- 
night streets. It was the most unreal hour 
in the most unreal city in the world. And 

we were at the very heart (or, if you think 
« 17 

i8 Paris ^ la Carte 

it has no heart, the stomach) of the gay 
night life of Paris. 

Turning into the avenue de TOp^ra, my 
friend, the Reformed Diplomat, and I be- 
held a line of variegated vehicles, drawing 
up successively before the entrance of the 
Caf6 de Paris, On the walk, beside the lu- 
minous doorway, huddled a little group 
of onlookers — several grimy, tousle-headed 
children; a pair of sad-eyed midinettes^ 
doubly pale in their black dresses; an old 
crone bending over her cane ; a burly, beery 
truck-driver pausing on his way from a 
cruel day's work; a haggard girl of the 
streets pausing on her way to a cruel night's 
work — objects to inspire repulsion, pity, or 
perhaps artistic approbation as the back- 
ground for a series of startling, vari-coloured 
visions which burst from the equipages, 
scudded across the sidewalk on twinkling 
satin slippers, and entered the door of the 
caf6. Accompanying each of these effulgent 

Paris a la Carte 19 

beings was a hovering black figure, shod in 
glistening patent leather, topped with a 
sleek silk hat, and garnished with the essen- 
tial pocketbook. 

We followed and were met, within, by the 
scream of violins, the scrutiny of head 
waiters, and the scent of viands. Before us 
was a buffet, dressed with a profusion of 
rare edibles: capon from Le Mans, black 
truffles from P6rigord, ripe red tomatoes 
from Provence, great fish from icy rivers, 
pit6s de foies gras from Strassburg, tender 
asparagus from Rheims, succulent string- 
beans from Nice, red-lacquered cherries, 
bits of grape-vine bearing fruit like clusters 
of old green and purple jewels, almonds in 
jackets of verdigris; big, bizarre strawber- 
ries; peaches with firm, tender flesh and 
velvet skin ; an avalanche of golden bananas, 
and, enthroned above all. Her Majesty the 
pineapple, in the green crown she wears as 
queen of tropic fruits. 

20 Paris ^ la Carte 

Beyond the buffet lay the Caf6 de Paris, 
divided, like all Gaul, into three parts. 

Some people were going up 


a stairway (two by two like 
the animals into the Ark) 
to the cabinets particuHers, 
those secluded and insinuating private di- 
ning-rooms which are not the least Parisian 
things about the leading Paris restaurants. 
Other people were going sadly to the left side 
of the ground-floor room, which is the ''dis- 
card"; still others were being shown to the 
opposite side, which is, in both senses of the 
word, the right. 

To sit upon the right side of the Caf6 de 
Paris it is necessary to be upon the right 
side of Louis Barrya, the maitre d'hdtel — 
which costs, I am informed, one hundred 
francs, payable in almost any sort of money, 
in advance. Aside from the fact that a 
pair of professionals give the *' Apache'' 
dance among the tables, there is no reason 

Paris a la Carte ^i 

for sitting there, excepting that it is "the 
thing" to do so. My friend, the Reformed 
Diplomat, declares that it is a sort of un- 
chartered American club, of which Louis is 
the house committee, the membership com- 
mittee, and, above all, the treasurer. The 
qualification for membership is the posses- 
sion and free use of money. Payment of 
the initiation fee creates instant member- 
ship, giving you the right to sit on a yellow 
divan, order k la carte from a menu which 
scorns to mention sordid things like prices, 
and, having ordered, eat and drink and 
look about at the marble columns, gold 
ceilings, mirrors, luxuriant plants, and 
gaudy Americans. 

If you see an occasional "foreigner," it is 
probably James Hazeii Hyde, Valeska Sur- 
ratt, or a waiter — ^although I have heard 
that a Russian or an Anglomaniac French- 
man drifts in, now and then, during the 
winter, when there are no Americans in 

22 Paris a la Carte 

Paris. (No wonder French waiters think 
that Americans hibernate through the cold 
season, only to reappear in the spring, the 
females with new plumage, the males with 
new letters of credit.) 

One is inclined to puzzle, at first, as to 
how the Caf6 de Paris exists while the Amer- 
icans are absent, but presently one gets one's 
bill and understands. I ceased to wonder 
even before the bill was brought, for I saw 
a gentleman from Indiana drop a golden 
louis on the floor and give it to the waiter 
as a tip for his pains in having picked it up. 

Witnessing this exhibition of financial in- 
souciance, I suddenly became conscious of 
the fact that the Caf6 de Paris is no place 
for a person who endeavors to extract a liv- 
ing from that typewriter we still refer to, 
picturesquely, as ''the pen." The food and 
drink are not homelike from a literary point 
of view — they are too good; and although 
authors, in their lairs, have no prices marked 

Paris a la Carte 23 

upon their menus, the absence of prices 
from the menus of this caf6 does not give 
that cosey and domestic touch one might 

To feel entirely at home in the Caf6 de 
Paris one should have been especially born 
for the purpose. The seventh son of the 
seventh wife of a man with seven millions 
might grow up to it, especially if bom with 
a golden spoon (full of caviar) in his mouth, 
or if he came into being in a proscenium 
box on the first night of a Broadway musi- 
cal show. Subsequent training as a stock- 
broker, a wine-agent, a man-milliner, or the 
editor of a Chicago society paper might also 
help. An infant bom under such favorable 
conditions, and carefully nurtured with bot- 
tled cocktails and absinthe, would be ready 
for the Caf6 de Paris on attaining his major- 
ity, or be a disappointment to his parents 
and the show-girl with whom he elopes. It 
would be a good place for his honeymoon 

24 Paris i la Carte 

with his unblushing bride, except for the 

<i _ 

fact that the Caf6 de Paris closes at about 
three o'clock in the morning, which might 
spoil their evenings. 

Apropos of this, it may be mentioned 
that, though the matter of time is, from one 
point of view, unimportant to your Parisian 
restaurant-goer, it is peculiarly important 
from another. Unlike the American, the 
Frenchman is not irritated by slow service, 
providing each dish is palatable when it 
finally arrives. He prefers things cooked to 
order, regardless of time, and, to this end, 
ceases entirely to transact business between 
the hours of noon and two o'clock. In the 
largest cities outside Paris, even the banks 
are closed through this part of the day. 

"All of which," Flammang will tell you, 
"shows why the French have better things 
to eat than the Americans, no matter how 
many celebrated Parisian chefs are taken 
to New York." 


Paris a la Carte 25 


Flammang has been chef for the Duke of 
York, also in many clubs and fashionable 
restaurants in New York, but 
has retired, now, to pass a phi- 
losophic old age as proprietor 
of a tea-room and pastry-shop 
on a comer of the rue Valois, near the 
Palais Royal. 

"In America," says he, "people eat too 
fast. They sit down to table, regard their 
watches, and say to the waiter: 'Quick! 
I have but an half-hour!' He brings them 
food, running. They throw it into their 
mouths as one throws clothing into a laun- 
dry bag. When one course is finished, the 
next must be upon the table. If it is not, 
they call for the head waiter and cry with 
fury: 'What is the matter! What is the 
matter! I arrived at three minutes past 
twelve; it was twenty-one minutes past 
when I called you, and here a whole half- 
minute has passed while I have spoken! 

26 Paris ^ la Carte 

Eighteen and one-half minutes gone, yet 
where are those chop with petits pots? This 
is terrible! It is one vSritable scandale!* 

"And for that," Flammang continues, 
''what must these good chefs do? They 
must begin to cook two or three hours in 
advance. Then the food must stand in 
large quantities, to become dry and with- 
out flavour. Ah, but it is ready! That 
is the thing. Quick! Quick!" 

If the time spent at table is not impor- 
tant to the Frenchman, the time for sitting 
down to meals is highly so. Certain res- 
taurants are popular at certain hours : some 
for breakfast, others for luncheon, tea, din- 
ner, or supper. Comparatively few people, 
for example, lunch at the Caf6 de Paris, 
more dine there, but it is not until about 
midnight that the great crowd arrives. 

When, two or three hours later, the people 
are leaving this caf6, and the violinists are 
putting their instruments in cases, such re- 

Paris a la Carte 27 

sorts as Maxim's and the wild establish- 
ments of Montmartre are only tuning to 
their shrillest, dizziest pitch. Maxim's, 
though technically open through the day, 
is practically deserted before midnight, and 
does not reach its ultimate until half-past 
two or three o'clock, a.m., while the several 
giddy Montmartre caf6s, of which I shall 
speak later, do not even make a pretence 
of opening their doors before eleven or 
twelve at night. 

Last year I met, in Paris, an American 
youth who, having seen "The Merry 
Widow" and "The Giri from Maxim's," 
wished to visit the notorious establishment 
at once. He went there for dinner on the 
night of his arrival in the city, only to find 
himself alone in the place save for the idle, 
grinning waiters. 

I congratulated him. 

It was not my original intention to men- 
tion Maxim's quite so soon, but since I 

28 Paris k la Carte 

have drifted to it, I may as well continue. 
I abominate the place, not because it is 

gay or seductive, but because 
it is precisely the reverse — a 
brazen fake, over -advertised, 
ogling, odoriferous; a night- 
mare of smoke, champagne, and banality. 
Its art nouveau mural decorations are ver- 
tiginous and terrible, and the people beneath 
them are even worse — pudgy, purple men, 
trying to purchase happiness in iced bottles, 
and solitary sirens trying to look gay and 
alluring before the dismal pints of cham- 
pagne which, on entering, they are obliged 
to order if they wish to stay. The rest are 
onlookers who might better have remained 

However, I have been able to find two 
sadly funny things about this place: a re- 
volving door and a chasseur. The former 
is, so far as I know, the only door of its kind 
in the world. Instead of the usual four 

Paris a la Carte 29 

divisions, it has but two, each of which ac- 
commodates a pair. The purpose of this 
door IS beautifully obvious: it prevents 
couples devoted, disgusted, or drunk, as the 
case may be, from even an instant's separa- 
tion. The chasseur is comic because of his 
superbly suitable* appearance. A youth but 
little more than four feet tall, with a sallow, 
sharp face and shrewd, derisive eyes, he 
wears a bright red pill-box cap, set so jaun- 
tily upon the side of his head that one fancies 
it must hang upon a sprouting horn. His 
flaming jacket is cut to an absurd little 
point, like a sharp tail, behind. Altogether 
he is the perfect image of his father, Mephis- 
topheles, who (in spite of reports that it is 
owned by an English stock company) I be- 
lieve is the proprietor of Maxim's. Waiting 
with his bicycle, to carry nasty messages for 
nasty people, you may see the diabolic little 
chasseur almost any time you drive past 
Maxim's (which I hope you'll always do). 

30 Paris a la Carte 

You need drive but a few steps farther to 
reach the Restaurant Larue, which, by day, 

lies in the shadow of the church 


of the Madeleine, and by night 
casts shadows of its own. With 
its excellent cuisine and wines, its cosmopoli- 
tan clientele, its Tzigany orchestra, and its 
florid decorations, Larue's is very typical of 
the Paris boulevards. Americans go there, 
but then, so do Frenchmen. And French- 
women! It is not coarse, like Maxim's, but 
gay, like Paris; the sort of place one would 
select for a first meal in the **ville lumitre'' 
after two years spent on the veldt, or in one 
of our western towns with funny names and 
"oyster parlors" situated on Main Street. 

It is very annoying to have to write any- 
thing useful or instructive. That is the 
trouble with this article: it is written with 
a purpose. I want to convert you from the 
stupid pretence of standing before statues 

Paris a la Carte 31 

and paintings which you will never under- 
stand, and teach you how to" improve your 
time in Paris, so that, instead of coming 
away with a blurred list of painters and 
sculptors, you will bring back recollections, 
definite and permanent/of interesting res- 
taurants, dishes, and people. To this end I 
must encroach somewhat upon the field of 
Mr. Baedeker and, instead of describing 
separately each important restaurant on or 
near the Grands Boulevards^ run through 
the list hurriedly: 

The Hotel Ritz, Henry's (not Henry's 
bar), Paillard's, Durand's,* and the Caf6 
Riche are fashionable and very good. The 

* A cable dispatch in the New York Times contains the 
sad news that Durand's closed its doors after dinner on 
the night of Dec. 19, 191 1, the floods of the year previous 
having undermined the foundations of the building. 

"It was at Durand's," says the dispatch, "that Gen. 
Boulanger had his one chance for a coup d'etat. When 
the boulevard was crowded with enthusiastic mobs singing 
and cheering the then popular idol, he was entertaining 
a party of friends in one of the private rooms on the first 
floor. The banquet was prolonged until early morning 



32 Paris a la Carte 

last of these is one of the older restaurants 
of the first class, having been established 

about 1820-30. The Caf6 
de la Paix is likewise good, 
and is particularly cele- 
brated for its sidewalk 
terrace, where one may sit 
over a lemonade, a strop, or an ice, and watch 
the fascinating Paris crowd. TheCaf6Am6ri- 
cain is not American at all, and has a rather 
sad supper room up-stairs, in which, late at 
night, professional dandng-girls waltz, lack- 

and the populace went home to bed before the feasting 
was over." 

One of the proprietors of Durand's told me that the 
mob came there for Boulanger drawing a carriage, in which 
they meant to take Boulanger to the £lys6e Palace and 
proclaim him King, but that either because he was afraid 
to take the decisive step, or because he was enjoying his 
dinner too well, he would not go, and thus lost his one 
great opportunity. The ancient royalist club called the 
Pot au Feu occupied rooms over Durand's, having existed 
for a number of centuries, and in the Mus6e de TArm^e 
there is a clock from this historic restaurant in which is 
lodged a bullet which came in through the window at 
the time of the revolution. 

Paris a la Carte 33 

adaisically, between the tables. Prunier's is 
famous for sea food, but is closed in hot 
weather. Noel Peter's is well known and 
good. The Restaurant Champeaux (es- 
tablished 1800) is popular with stock-bro- 
kers, and is described by Zola in the first 
chapter of "L' Argent." 

So on, down the boulevard, until we come 
to the famous and admirable Margu6ry's in 
the Boulevard Bonne Nou- 


velle. Mai:gu6ry's is neither 
painfully fashionable nor 
distressingly expensive, yet it is one of the 
best restaurants in Paris, thriving, despite its 
some what out-of-the-way location, by virtue 
of fine fare and a consequent strong bour- 
geois support. I hope that it will always 
thrive, and that I shall often see it doing so — 
over a platter of sole k la Margu6ry: the 
most delectable of fish, cooked in the most 
marvellous of manners. 

The bent, picturesque figure of old Mon- 

34 Paris i la Carte 

sieur Margu6ry, with the red ribbon of the 
Legion of Honor in his buttonhole, is no 
longer to be seen passing from table to 
table. He belonged to an age and type 
which are fast vanishing. Companies run 
restaurants to-day, and companies can not 
be expected to have white hair, or person- 
ality, or to stroll among the tables bowing 
and keeping an eye to the service. Com- 
panies hire men to do this sort of thing. 
And from my observation, they thus give 
legal and lucrative employment to many 
individuals who, had they lived in other 
times, would very likely have sailed the 
Spanish Main under a flag like the label on 
a carbolic-acid bottle. 

In enumerating these leading restaurants, 
I have purposely omitted Voisin's and the 
Caf6 Anglais, because they are entirely 
unique. Built before the days of Midas & 
Co., architects and mural decorators, whose 
touch has turned all modern restaurants to 

Paris a la Carte 35 

gold, these two fine old establishments hold 
out with patriarchal scorn against the flam- 
boyant tendencies of the times. Their door- 
ways are not the doorways of peilaces ; they 
are white, inside and out; they employ no 
orchestras to drown stupid conversation, no 
buccaneers of waiters to gouge their patrons. 
They are the two great ancient temples of 
the French cuisine which still remain in 

Voisin's, the more recent of the two, was 
established in 1813, in a building belong- 
ing to a convent, the grounds of which occu- 
pied, until the Revolu- 
tion, the entire neighbor- 
hood. It has never 
moved from its location, 
and has changed hands 



but twice. Its cellars (containing such vin- 
tages as Chateau Margaux, 1846, Chateau 
Lafitte, and Chateau Haut-Brion, 1847) are 
the most famous, I suppose, of any public 

36 Paris a la Carte 

cellars in the world. And if there are no 
prices on the bill of fare, one does not feel 
resentful, for one knows that there will be no 
overcharging, as at certain other restaurants 
where this custom holds. 

I have the menu of a Christmas dinner 
held at Voisin's in the year 1870, on the 
ninety-ninth day of the siege of Paris. Per- 
haps they did not eat the things which were 
listed on that card, but they perpetrated 
a brave joke in face of famine and disaster, 
when they debonairly listed such dishes as 
Roast Camel, Stuffed Donkey's Head, and 
Cats with Rat Dressing. 

The Caf6 Anglais is, in history, spirit, 
and appearance, very similar to Voisin's. 
Foumier, in his "Promenade Historique 
dans Paris," tells of the discovery of the 
place in the year 1800 by some gay young 
men who soon made it famous and caused 
its transformation from a humble little ca- 
baret into a restaurant of the first order. 

Paris ^ la Carte 




The great men of the last century have 
dined at both these restaurants, and pre- 
cious souvenirs of royal 
patrons are preserved at 
the Cafe Anglais, in shape 
of finger-bowls, each bear- 
ing the monogram and 
cipher of the king or prince who used it. 
The late King Edward's finger-bowl is 
there, as are also those of the Kaiser, 
the late Leopold of Belgium, the King amd 
the Crown Prince of Greece, the King 
of Spain, the Grand Duke Alexis, the 
ex-King Manuel of Portugal, and many 

Collectors look upon these souvenirs with 
greedy eyes. 

"But, Monsieur," the maltre d'hdtel ex- 
plained to me, "they are not ours to sell. 
We regard them as the private property of 
their respective majesties and royal high- 
nesses. And what would they think, Mon- 


38 Paris a la Carte 

sieur, on coming back, to find their finger- 
bowls no longer here?" 

"King Edward and King Leopold will 
not come back," I ventured. 

"True, Monsieur," he replied with dig- 
nity, "and that is but an added reason why 
we most respectfully preserve their finger- 

I know of several other notable restau- 
rants, but of less aristocratic lineage, which 
are as old or older than Voisin's and the 
Caf6 Anglais. One of these, Gauclair's, 
was founded in 1800, and still flourishes on 
its old site, especially at the luncheon hour. 

Another, the Boeuf k la 
Mode, in the rue VeJois, 
was founded in 1 792. It 
is a favourite eating- 
place of mine, simple, old-fashioned, very 
good. And it is near the Palais Royal, the 
Com6die Franjaise, and the Louvre; so 


Paris a la Carte 39 

if, in spite of my advice, you insist on 
sightseeing, you may find it convenient. 
And if, while in that neighborhood, you'll 
look within the courtyard of the Palais 
Royal, at the further end, you'll see a res- 
taurant — no longer fashionable — whither, 
in other days, were wont to dine the ladies 
and gentlemen of the court of Napoleon III. 
Older even than the Boeuf k la Mode is 
the Tour d'Argent, which, so far as I know, 
has the record for antiquity, having existed 
upon its present site on the Quai de la Tour- 
nelle since 1582, or within less than four- 
score years of the death of Christopher 
Columbus. The place is rather dingy; one 
does not go there to hear music or to see 
crowds and elaborate costumes, but for the 
special dishes cooked by old Fr6d6ric,* who, 
with his Ibsenesque head and his broad 

* Frederic Delair died in Paris about the time these 
lines were written. His death was widely noticed through- 
out France. 


40 Paris a la Carte 

shoulders, stooping under the weight of the 
sixty-nine years they carry, is one of the 
sights of Paris — and knows it. 

His greatest specialty is canard pressS. 
When Fr6d6ric carves a Rouen duck, crushes 

the carcass in a silver press, 
mixes his savoury sauce, and 
with it anoints the tender 
slices, people at the tables 
lay down their knives and forks to watch, 
and waiters stand about in prayerful atti- 
tudes. The very writing of the thing fills 
me with a great desire ; yet a still small voice 
whispers to me that Fm better off away from 
Fr6d6ric*s. His canard pressS is extremely 
rich, and the "gathering of material" for 
such books as this gives one a tendency 
toward biliousness and gout. 

It occurs to me that this may be the rea- 
son why so little information has hitherto 
been given on the subject of the Paris res- 
taurants. Writers have doubtless tried to 





a « 



Paris ^ la Carte 41 

tell about them, but have died in the at- 
tempt, or given up and gone to Carlsbad. 

Notwithstanding this, there are persons 
who have enjoyed the distinction of having 
dishes named for them by Fr6d6ric, yet 
lived. On the menu of 
the Tour d 'Argent will 
be found the following: 
Sole Loie Fuller, Canap6 
Clarence Mackay , Sole Phipps, Salmon Trout 
Munsey, and, getting down to dessert. Pear 
Wanamaker — in which dish a slangy Parisian 
might find the flavour of a double entente; for, 
in France, to call a man a poire is to refer 
ironically to the shape of his head and the 
paucity of its contents — as witness the pun- 
ishment of the journalist who applied the 
term to King Louis Philippe. 

I once wormed myself into the confidence 
of one of Fr6d6ric's waiters, a confidence 
which I shall now betray. 

**Mais ouif Monsieur f*' he smiled. "I 

42 Paris a la Carte 

can make canard pressS as well as any one. 
But then, Monsieur, the people would not 
come to see me do it. I have neither the 
so grand manner nor yet the so grand 
whiskers which have made my patron rich, 

I was not entirely surprised to hear that 
my friend Fr6d6ric was rich. Not only does 
he charge good round prices, but he has 
served me wines which, on comparing price 
with flavour, made me think he was just a 
trifle richer than he really ought to be. 

At Fr6d6ric*s we find ourselves for the 
first time on the left bank of the Seine, a 
region which one thinks of as being given 
over to art, medical and university students, 

and the Bon March6. 

Here, from the river back 
to the farthest corner of 
the Latin Quarter, will be 
found a sprinkling of restaurants and caf^s 
of both high and low degree. On the quai, 

AND R. L. S. 

Paris a la Carte 43 

not far from the Pont Neuf, is the Caf6 
Laperouse, well known to all the artists and 
literary men who have frequented the 
French capital in ,the last half-century. 
It is as good a place to-day, I think, as wJien 
Robert Louis Stevenson and his friends 
were wont to go there. The prices are rea- 
sonable (as prices should be upon the left 
bank of the Seine) and the fish and chicken 
specialties are worth investigation. 

Those who remember Thackeray's ''Bal- 
lad of the Bouillabaisse," will find the res- 
taurant therein cele- 
brated a few blocks back 
of the Caf6 Laperouse, 
near the church of Saint 
Germain des Pr^s. I do 
not know that bouillabaisse may still be 
had there, but I hope so. Perhaps you will 
find out. 

Still further from the Seine, not far from 
the Od6on Theatre, is the H&tel Corneille, 




44 Paris a la Carte 

where Little Billee lived, when he was in 
love with Trilby, and near it is the Res- 
taurant de rOd^on, where he went with 
Taffy and The Laird, and found that "the 
omelettes were good and the wine wasn't 
blue/' Undoubtedly the best restaurant on 
this side of the river is the Foyot, near the 
Luxembourg galleries and gardens. The 
Foyot is a fine, unpretentious old place, fre- 
quented by professors from the Sorbonne 
and the schools, and by the senators of 
France. Its wines and cuisine are of the 
very best. Of the thousand stories hamging 

'round the old white build- 
ing there is one, which I 
recall, that played upon 
the sardonic risibilities of 
Paris for a week. An edi- 
torial writer on one of the Parisian news- 
papers, who was very fond of airing, in 
print, his anarchistic tendencies, was also 
very fond of dining at the Caf6 Foyot. At 



Paris a la Carte 4S 

the time of which I write an anarchist had 
thrown a bomb in the restaurant of the 
H6tel Terminus at the Gare St. Lazare, in- 
juring a number of persons, and the anar- 
chistic editorial writer had shocked Paris by 
writing, apropos of the crime, a grimly cyn- 
ical leader, excusing the bomb-thrower on 
various aesthetical grounds. Each para- 
graph of this clever bit of sophistry ended 
with a phrase demanding: what difference 
do the lives of a few rich persons make **si 
le geste est beau**? One evening, a few weeks 
after the publication of the editorial, our 
newspaper man was at the Caf6 Foyot, re- 
galing himself upon one of the famous chops, 
cooked in paper wrappers, which are a 
specialty of the place, when another anar- 
chist came along with another bomb, and, 
mistaking his brother in the cause of the red 
flag for a certsiin unpopular senator whom 
he resembled, let fly his missile. It was the 
sort of thing which wouldn't happen in any 

46 Paris h la Carte 

other place but Paris and wouldn't be enjoyed 
by any other people as by the Parisisuis. So 
when, to use the vernacuIcU", the anarchistic 
editor "got his," the whole press of Paris — 
and it is the wittiest press on earth — burst 
forth as one voice with the ironical demand : 
''What matters it *'si le geste est beau^'? 

Probably the best-known restaurants of 
the Latin Quarter are on or near the 

Boulevard St. Michel — 
known familiarly among 
the people of the qtcar- 
tier asthe'BoulMicWr 
Representative among 
them are: Pascal's in the rue de I'ficole du 
M6decin, frequented principally by medical 
students and their ** bonnes amies; ^^ the Caf6 
d'Harcourt, in the boulevard near by, an old 
favourite among the art students; and the 
Taverne du Panth6on, also on the "Boul* 
Mich*," much the same as the HcU"court, 




Paris a la Carte 47 

though somewhat more pretentious. In 
these caf^s, or on the sidewalk terraces out- 
side the two last-named, one sees, at night, 
the gay, outdoor life of the present Latin 
Quarter. There is a good deal of sof didness, 
a good deal of pose, and a great deal of 
youth about it, but it is not so heartless 
and commercial as the night life on the 
other side of the river. 

Though some writers try to keep up the 
illusion of the "Real Latin Quarter," the 
fact is that the days of "Trilby" and of 
gay grisettes are gone. The grisette is an 
extinct animal, having evolved into the 
model or the cocotte, and though one sees in 
these caf^s evidences of the fact that life in 
the Latin Quarter may still be loose, the 
students* trousers are not nearly so loose as 
they were twenty, or even ten, years ago. 
If a few young men affect the baggy cor- 
duroys, long matted hair, and flat hats once 
so prevalent, they are the ineffidents who, 

48 Paris a la Carte 

being unable to paint, devote themselves to 
shedding a glamour on the guartier and soup 
on their Windsor ties. Nevertheless, if one 
be finicky enough to disapprove of kissing 
between mouthfuls (and strictly between 
friends, of course) 'twere better not to dine 
or sup on the ''BouF Mich'." 

The Restaursmt Lavenue, near the Mont- 
pamasse railway station, though frequented 

by 2U"tists, shows more re- 

LAVENUE straint than the last three I 

have mentioned. It is di- 
vided into two sections, the Grand and the 
Petit Lavenue. The former is the more ex- 
pensive and pretentious, and is more likely to 
be crowded, having as a drawing card a 
particularly good violinist by the name of 

For the rest, the boulevards and side 
streets of the neighborhood are fairly dotted 
over with quiet little restaurants, some of 
them decorated by the students, where one 

Paris a la Carte 49 

may lunch or dine surprisingly well for a 

franc or two. The average traveller will 

not be interested in these humble places, I 

suppose, but for the benefit of others who 

may wish to find them I shall take the risk 

of mentioning old M^re Boudet's, where I 

used to lunch some years ago — and very 

well for very little money. They tell me 

that M^re Boudet's isn't 

what it used to be ; that 

Louise, the pretty bonnCj 

no longer graces it; that 

it has grown large and 

lost its intimacy. They say ''the crowd" 

all goes to Garnier's now. I do not know. 

Things change. But somewhere, not too 

far from the old H6tel Haute Loire (within 

whose ramshackle, flatiron-shaped walls, 

so many men, destined to paint their way 

to fame, have lived, on first arriving in the 

city of their dreams), somewhere about 

that neighborhood there is a place to which 



so Paris I la Carte 

the students, the poor artists, and the models 
of the region go to-day to lunch and dine. 
The slender Russian girl— uncorseted but 
never unescorted — ^who dressed in flowing 
robes and wore sandals on her feet and a 
fillet round her jet-black hair, is doubtless 
gone, these several years. But let us hope 
that there is some one else, spectacular as 
she was, whom you may see upon your 
Latin Quarter prowl. 

Perhaps at this point you'll permit a word 
about the cheapest eating-places of the city. 
The establishments Duval and Bouillon- 

Boulant are scattered over 
Paris as are those of Childs 
and Kohlsaat in New York 
and Chicago. They are 
very inexpensive, far from bad, and are pa- 
tronised by shop-clerks and the like. Fur- 
thermore, there are literally thousands of 
small independent bars and wine-shops, in 


Paris ^ la Carte Si 

almost any one of which a good omelette, 
soup, broiled ham, or other simple dish, may 
be obtained for a few sous. Many of these 
places are known as '^rendez-vous des cocker s,^^ 
and are largely patronised by cabmen, who 
in their voyages about the city soon learn 
where the best food is served for the least 
money. And let me tell you, there are 
many well-to-do Americans who do not eat 
such appetising and nutritious meals in their 
own homes as are enjoyed by the jolly, red- 
faced Paris cockers. 

It is natural that Paris, with her cosmo- 
politan population, should have a group of 
restaurants specisilising in 
the cuisine of other lands. 
Several German caf^s are 
to be found upon the 
boulevards; a Spanish 
restaurant, at 14 rue du Helder; and a 
restaurant called Vian's, at 22 rue Daunou, 




52 Paris a la Carte 

opposite the H6tel Chatham, where the 
homesick American may procure codfish 
bsills, corn-bread, sweet corn on the cob, and 
other dishes to remind him that the United 
States is not without her culinary specialties. 
There are also several Italian restaurants: 
one on the Boulevard des Italiens, another 
in the Passage des Panoramas, and still 
another, little known, yet very fascinating, 
quite at the top of the Montmartre. 

The rather inaccessible position occupied 
by the Restaurant du Coucou has saved it, 

so far, to the coterie of 
artists, actors, journal- 
ists, and literary folk 
who, with their friends, 
make up its clientele. 
It perches like a bird's- 
nest on the steep hillside which surrounds the 
Sacr6 Coeur. In front of the picturesque, 
dilapidated old building which is the restau- 
rant proper, lies a tiny square, the name of 





Paris I la Carte S3 

which I shall not give — for if you have not 
the energy to find it, you don't deserve to 
know about the Restaurant du Coucou. 
The square sleeps throughout the day, but 
as dinner-time approaches appear fimilie, 
Marguerite, Rina, and Charles (the children 
of Vincent, chef and proprietor of the Cou- 
cou), bearing little tables and rush-bottom 
chairs, which they set about the open place 
between their building and the studio- 
residence of the artist across the way. 

Vincent came from Asti, in Italy, a good 
many years ago, and, after being msiltre 
d'hdtel in well-known families, started his 
little restaurant a decade since. His cheer- 
ful femme, who watches the accounts, is 
Swiss, but the children, who serve the 
diners, possess (like the cooking and the Asti 
wine) the qualities of their father's father- 
land. More than any other place I know, 
perhaps, the Restaurant du Coucou strikes 
me as superbly simple, rare, unspoiled. It is 

54 Paris a la Carte 

like a scene from ChaqDentier's "Louise"; 
like the veritable citadel of "La Boh^me." 
When darkness falls, the three girls ap- 
pear with tiny lamps, which, placed about 
upon the tables, shed glow-worm lights 
upon the diners, among whom Charles, 
youngest of Vincent's flock, passes in the 
r&le of jester, ''blagueing'' and being spoiled. 
With the aid of what I have told you, you 

can find the Restaurant 
du Coucou in an hour 
or two's tramp. Having 
found it, select a balmy 
night to dine there. You will sit a long 
time before asking for your bill, which 
will be written in chalk upon a slate, and 
very moderate. We were four at table 
the last time I visited the Coucou, and 
Rina's slate called for twenty francs, or just 
one dollar each, for a meal of soup, spa- 
ghetti, lobster, salad, and other things, 
washed down with Asti wine. I paid, but, 


Paris k la Carte 55 

just as we were leaving, Rina came run- 
ning after me, announcing a mistake. 

"How much more?" I asked, slipping my 
hand into my pocket. 

''Nothing, Monsieur," she said, showing 
me the amendment on her slate. "We 
owe you two francs." 

I had a different experience at Larue's a 
few nights later. This time I discovered an 
error of a few francs on a much bigger bill, 
and requested that it be corrected. The 
waiter took the bill away, and when he 
brought it back it was larger than before. 
They had deducted the amount I objected 
to, but added a larger sum against another 
item ! The restaurateurs of the boulevards 
do not believe in "revision downward." 

Since the time the ancient Gauls first 
made their marmite, it has been the custom 
of Gallic people to consider eating passion- 
ately. The art of the cuisine is to the 

S6 Paris ^ la Carte 

French what the — may one say art? — of 
the Quick Lunch is to us, excepting that 
our quick lunch is so very, very quick that 
we have no time (or reason) to be proud of 
it. No American has ever undertaken to 
write grandly, majestically, of the quick 
lunch, but there are Frenchmen who have 
earned immortal names by writing of mat- 
ters which may, with particular correctness, 
be described as "touching on the stomach 
and the palate." Consider, for example, the 
fulminations of Fulbert Dumonteuil, in the 
* ' Almanach des Gourmands * * : 

" It is the flag of the French cuisine, which 
our incomparable master-cooks have proud- 
ly planted upon the strange soil of grateful 
and charmed nations. And every day its 
Empire grows more vast, and, above all, 
more durable than those of Alexander and 
of Charlemagne!" 

What is left to other nations in face of 
such a gastronomic war-whoop but to strike 

Paris ^ la Carte 57 

their colours to the French? And we do 
strike them (all of us but the Germans) by 
wearing our napkins at humble half-mast, 
in our laps, while the Frenchman raises the 
white banner of culinary conquest to full 
height, flaunting it victoriously from be- 
tween his collar and his double chin. 

If the French do not know how to eat, 
they certainly do know what and where to 
eat. Eating is part of the Parisian's train- 
ing for the one game, the one industry, the 
one passionate pursuit on which the whole 
of his existence centres — 
the pursuit of woman. 

Each time I go to Paris 
I see more clearly that 
the superb restaurants, 
with their rich food and drink, their seduc- 
tive music, and their little stairways, leading 
up to cabinets particuliers, are designed to 
strike one incessant note in the bacchanalian 
chorus of the Venusberg — a chorus in which 



S8 Paris k la Carte 

other notes are struck by the literature, the 
drama, the costumiers, milliners, and jewel- 
lers, the insinuating deep- topped fiacres and 
taxis scurrying on clandestine errands. 

" The fairy of toilettes," an anonymous 
French writer says of one Paris restaurant 
(and he might have said it of a score), "the 
fairy of adornments, of jewels, of shoulders, 
the poem of the flesh, the eyes of sorceresses, 
palpitating throats, superb hair, white hands 
covered with precious stones, compliments 
and favours, kisses and embraces, love and 
voluptuousness, wealth, happiness, joy, 
youth, luxury, shine resplendently in ele- 
gantly decorated rooms, bloom in the inti- 
macy of picturesque salons. . . ." 

There is a glimpse of the Frenchman's 
point of view as set down by himself! Two 
types of Paris restaurants exemplify it in 
its extremity. In its most elegant aspect 
it is to be seen in the outdoor and semi- 
outdoor establishments of the Bois de Bou- 




Paris h la Carte 59 

logne and the Champs EIys6es; in its more 
sordid and professional quality in the sup- 
per places of Montmartre. 

The outdoor restaurants of Paris are 
unique. Architects, landscape gardeners, 
and nature have combined 
with chefs and maitres 
d'h6tel to endow them with 
a theatrical allure so extrava- 
gant that, even in broad day, 
they give one a strong sense of unreality. 

The ChS^teau de Madrid, a hotel run by 
the proprietors of the Restaurant Henry, is 
the latest of them. It occupies, almost foot 
for foot, the site of a chS,teau built by 
Frangois I. in the early part of the sixteenth 
century, and possesses one or two souvenirs 
of the original structure. The other outlying 
places, the Pr6 Catelan, Pavilion d'Armenon- 
ville, Cascade, etc., are arranged on a differ- 
ent plan, each having a central pavilion — a 
low building with large dining-rooms below. 

6o Paris ^ la Carte 

private ones above, and wide verandas, 
glass-enclosed or not, according to the 

weather. Around these 


central buildings lie gar- 
dens sheltered by opulent 
trees, walled in by secretive hedges, filled 
with the scent of flowers, the sound of 
music, and the sense of sophisticated 

Especially during the racing-season is the 
show at the Pr6 Catelan and Armenonville 
spectacular. For dejeuner, tea, and dinner 
they are crowded, but have, perhaps, their 
largest throng for what Paris calls the "feeve 
o'clock. ' ' For this function, which the French 
now indulge In quite as regularly as the 
English, an endless line of vehicles arrives 
with women in toilettes elegant and extreme 
beyond the belief of Anglo-Saxon man, and 
French men of. fashion, gommeux, with 
pointed shoes, English clothes, canes, silk 
hats, monocles, and quick, appreciative 

Paris k la Carte 6i 

glances for such women as are either beauti- 
ful, chic, or bizarre. 

Effective as they are by day, it is not 
until night that the great hour of the al 
fresco restaurants arrives. At dinner-time, 
and through the evening, they are like Be- 
lasco stage-settings, very perfect and en- 
tirely theatrical. There is the play, but it 
does not progress. It is the same, hour 
after hour, night after night, year after 

The performers come in two by two, take 
tables on the verandas, or in the little bow- 
ers and kiosks of the gardens — men with 
extraordinary beards and mustachios, wom- 
en with mysteriously wise eyes and fascina- 
ting gowns — to consume rare wines and 
viands brought (to music) by discreetly 
self-effacing waiters. What place could be 
more fitting for a rendezvous (ah, beautiful 
French word!) with some one's tremulously 
lovely wife — ^perchance your own? 

62 Paris a la Carte 

Best of all these garden spots, I like to 
dine at the Caf6 Laurent in the Champs 
Elys^es. Though smaller than Ledoyen's 
across the way (where a thousand people 

will dine of a summer's eve- 
ning), there is something su- 
perlative about it : its cooking 
and service are superb, its 
patrons very fashionable, its 


gardens gloriously theatric, and its prices — 
well, they are, too. 

The garden would make a perfect setting 
for the second act of a ''comedy of manners," 
in which one of the characters is a beautiful 
young Russian woman with a gown cut to 
an acute V in the back. She would rest a 
pair of lovely elbows on the table, hold 
a cigarette between jewelled fingers, and 
gaze off through the trees at the necklace of 
amethyst lights that encircles the Th6Stre 
Marigny. The men would be ambassa- 
dors, and they would talk in well-bred 

Paris a la Carte 63 

voices while an orchestra played throbbing 

If, on the other hand, I wished to set a 
scene for a "Zaza" sort of drama, about an 
innocent youth and a fiery, wiry actress, I 
should betake myself to the Caf6 des Am- 
bassadeurs, a stone's throw from the Lau- 
rent. There I should have my rich young 
hero (he would have to be rich to do it) 
take a table in the first row of the balcony, 
where one may dine while witnessing the 
performance in the half-outdoor music-hall 
below. The plot of the play for which I 
select this scene would depend upon the 
country for which it was written. If it was 
for America, it would hinge upon the efforts 
of the actress to send the boy back to home 
and mother, but if for France, upon her 
efforts to keep him away from them. For 
the French use vinegar and pepper where 
we use cream and sugar. 

But it is getting late. We must decide 

64 Paris a la Carte 

between repose and prowling. Of course, I 
recommend that we go home, but you — ^ah ! 
I can tell from the glitter of your eye that 
the nocturnal restlessness of Paris is sur- 
ging through your veins. Well, as you must 
sit up, let's go to Fysher's. 

Fysher's is not properly a caf6. It is 
(rather improperly, I fear) a wine-room, 

where nothing but cham- 
pagne is served ; a fast, chic, 
boulevard edition of the old- 
time cabaret, in which the 
threadbare poets and composers of Mont- 
martre rendered their compositions before 
shabby, appreciative audiences, sipping 
strops, beers, or absinthes. 

The place consists of one small room, full 
of chairs and tables. Through the three hours 
that follow the striking of eleven it is packed 
with fashionably dressed men and women, 
representing "smart" society, the stage, and 
the "upper class" of the demi-monde. 


Paris a la Carte 6$ 

Fysher's has been running several years, 
but has, both metaphorically and literally, 
been kept dark. Double doors and shut- 
ters keep the light and music from getting 
out, and stray nocturnal wayfarers and 
fresh air from getting in. When the room 
becomes hot and smoky, a waiter under- 
takes to purify the atmosphere with a fine 
spray from a nickel-plated squirt-gun, 
charged with perfume. Real ventilation 
would, as a friend of mine remarked, seem 
to the French unpatriotic. 

Fysher, who is something of an artist, 
rises now and then and sings French 
love-songs written and composed by him- 
self — tender, lilting bits, of the type made 
known to American theatre-goers by Mau- 
rice Farkoa and Henri Leoni. The senti- 
ments in Fysher's songs run to such 
declarations as: 

If life were one long kiss, 

I would choose your lips for a dwelling place 


66 Paris a la Carte 

and the rhymes to such combinations as 
tendresse — caresse — ivresse, which are the 
French equivalents, more or less, of our own 
old favourites, lady love — stars above — 
turtle dove. 

There are other singers who alternate 
with Fysher, and sometimes a volunteer is 
found among the tables. One of the regular 
singers whom I heard there last year, a 
pretty young woman with a vase-like figure 
and a bell-like voice, is starring in opera in 
America this year. The other, I think it 
safe to say, will never sing in opera. She 
bawls gay tunes in a raucous voice, but her 
personality is so humourously engaging 
that people laugh the moment she stands 

I have no idea of spoiling Fysher's by 
telling you exactly where it is. If you find 
it, you must find it for yourself or get some- 
one else to show you. The only clue that 
I shall give is this: that from the step of 

Pari& a la Carte 67 

the Caf6 de Paris, you can very neariy 
throw a gold piece (or a handful of them) 
to Fysher's darkened doorway. 

Two classes of night restaurants are left 
to us when Fysher's closes. There is Max- 
im's and the similar, if less objectionable, 
places of Montmartre on the one hand, and, 
on the other, the little-known dives of the 
^^ Apaches'' both in Montmartre and near 
Les Halles, the great markets of the city. 
If the former are dissolute and foolish, the 
latter are really dangerous, for they are in- 
fested by the lowest characters. 

Only those who know Paris well should 
venture into night resorts in doubtful neigh- 
bourhoods. All the so-called "gaiety" 
that any normal person wishes may be 
found in well-known places like the Rat 
Mort and TAbbaye. The stray sociologist 
alone should think of penetrating to the 
lower depths, and him I advise to stay 


6S Paris a la Carte 

Le P^re de Famille, Le Grand Comptoir, 
Le Chien qui Fume, Le Lapin Sautant, Le 
Caveau des Innocents, etc., clustering about 

Les Halles, are, for the 
most part, shabby like- 
nesses of the Mont- 
martre restaurants. 
With the exception of the last-named, they 
have caf6s and bars on the ground floor, 
and restaurants above ; and usually there is a 
red-coated orchestra, composed of hunch- 
backs or otherwise grotesque musicians. 
To these places come the '* Apaches*' (a word 
which the French have borrowed from 
among our Indian names, to designate 
a bloodthirsty villain), the '^voyous,'" or 
toughs, who hang about the markets, and 
the '' maqueraux,'" with their women. To 
some of them, especially the Grand Comp- 
toir, which is the largest and perhaps the 
most orderly of them all, occasionally come 
slumming parties from the fashionable 

Paris ^ la Carte 69 

world of Paris; but foreigners are never 

The crowds arrive between midnight and 
two o'clock, and stay through until morn- 
ing, dancing, singing the latest ribald songs, 
breaking chairs and bottles, and occasion- 
ally shedding blood. Just as the purest 
French is said to be spoken in the city of 
Tours, the impurest is spoken in these res- 
taurants. It is the argot of the underworld, 
and is called the **langue verted The most 
poisonous-looking place of all is the Caveau 
des Innocents, a low, vaulted cellar, with a 
doorway so small that one must stoop to 
enter, and a series of narrow little rooms, 
in which desperate characters congregate 
about tables covered with the names of 
'* Apaches f'' which they have carved with 
their murderous knives: "Casque d'Or," 
" Coup-couteau de la Bastille," etc. 

Outside the great Halles roar with work 
as the creaking two-wheeled carts, which 

70 Paris a la Carte 

have come in from the country, are emptied 
of their produce. And when, at five or six 
o'clock in the morning, the fetid caf6s close 
at last, they are hemmed in by barricades 
and breastworks of fresh vegetables. 

This brief descent into the underworld 
has been a slight digression from the line of 
march. The logical ending of a night of 
prowling in the Paris caf6s is, as everybody 
understands, in Montmartre. To speak of 
Montmartre anywhere but at the very end 
of this article would be to "put the carte 
(dujour) before the hors {d^omvre).^^ 

Very well. You and I have come from 
the boulevards below. Our taxi has panted 

up the "mountain," 


between rows and rows 
of darkened houses, 
steering a straight course for the beacon 
lights of the Place Pigalle. Nearing the top, 
we have reached the realm of illumination, 
the big electric sign of the Bal Tabarin, of 

Paris 2i la Carte 71 

the Restaurant Lajeunie, the Royal, 
Monico's, Pigalle's, and at last, upon the 
plateau of the Place Pigalle, TAbbaye and 
the Rat Mort. 

One can never tell just what is going to 
happen in Montmartre. The evening may 
be dull or may be gay. Banalities, absurd- 
ities, comicalities, or odd adventures may 
be there awaiting us. We shall see Spaniards, 
Italians, Russians, Arabs, Scandinavians, 
Germans, Englishmen, Turks, and our own 
fellow-countrymen in search of amusement, 
mischief, vice. We shall see a sprinkling 
of respectable American women, with their 
escorts, clean-looking women, wide-eyed and 
curious, who decorate these bawdy supper 
rooms like lilies growing in a heap of refuse ; 
we shall see other American women, shrewd 
sagacious buyers, who have come to Paris 
for the purchase of model hats and gowns 
for the coming season in New York, 
Chicago, San Francisco; and we shall see 

72 Paris a la Carte 


still others: adventuresses, women who 
have drifted here on the crest of one ad- 
venture, and are floating idly in the eddies, 
waiting for another one to roll along. 
The easy, indolent, elegant, and relatively 
inexpensive life of Paris appeals to American 
women of all classes. Just as quantities of 
well-to-do and rich ones have their apart- 
ments on or near the Champs Elysees and 
the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, and 
quantities of others, who have tiny in- 
comes, live comfortably in cosey little flats 
about the Latin Quarter, so also do in- 
numerable women of our demi-monde float 
over and stay, held by the charm of Paris, 
by the modest cost of living, by the horse- 
racing, the gambling, the revelries of hectic 

New York's Lobster Palace Society has 
always its ambassadors in Paris, and anyone 
unfortunate enough to know by sight the 
more conspicuous figures of the Manhattan 

Paris ^ la Carte 


Tenderloin is sure to find familiar faces in 
the Paris restaurants. 

*'Mr. Feldman," a figure well known to 
the head waiters of Long Acre Square, will 
surely be in Paris. You will see him enter 

the Caf6 de Paris, 





Maxim's, or TAbbaye 
with the same air of 
being "someone in par- 
ticular" that you have 
seen him wear when entering the Knicker- 
bocker grill-room, Martin's, the ''other" 
Martin's, or Churchill's in New York. And 
trailing on behind him you will see the same 
large lady in staccato scents and a dimin- 
uendo dress. 

To anyone who sees our "Mr. Feldman" 
walk into a restaurant it is instantly ap- 
parent that he is not made of common clay, 
but rather of truffles and p&t6 de foies gras. 
Neither in New York nor Paris is it neces- 
sary for him to reserve tables in advance. 

74 Paris ^ la Carte 

No matter what a crush there is he always 
sails majestically in and finds a place. If 
the regular tables are occupied a special 
one is carried in and laid for him. 

The '*Mr. Feldman" kind of man distrib- 
utes largesse with a plump and lavish hand. 
He has cocktails named for him, drinks 
vintage champagnes, sends for the head 
waiter, calls him "Louis," dresses him down, 
and gives him a twenty-dollar bill. 

*'Mr. Feldman" is sometimes young, but 
usually he is middle-aged and just a little 
bald. His complexion is of either a pasty 
cream colour, or an apoplectic purple, 
shading off to a lighter tone about the 
prominently upholstered neck. There are 
deep wrinkles beside the nose, fleshy pouches 
beneath the eyes, diamonds on the fingers, 
and very fancy buttons on the waistcoat. 
The whole is mounted upon creaky legs. 

While **Mr. Feldman" lives, he lives very 
high, and when he comes to die, he does it 

Paris 2i la Carte 75 

so quickly that he actually interrupts him- 
self in the midst of ordering another bottle. 
His colour changes. If he was purple, he 
turns mauve; if cream-coloured, a lovely 
shade of pale green. An attentive waiter 
catches him as he starts to flop over on the 
wine coolers. He has stopped ordering, so 
his friends know he must be dead. 

But we were in Montmartre. Mont- 
martre is dissipated, but not in the 
oppressive, ugly manner of the New York 
Tenderloin. Many of the women who go 
regularly to the Abbaye, the Rat Mort, and 
Rabelais', are startling in appearance, and 
though there is no doubt as to the business 
they are bent on, they have a superficial 
gaiety, a native wit, which the Anglo-Saxon 
sometimes finds alluring. 

''No wonder," I heard an American 
woman say to her husband, as she watched 
a youthful Briton gaily buying bottle after 




76 Paris a la Carte 

bottle of champagne for a group of bizarre 
young women in the Abbaye, "no wonder 
that young Englishmen have such a jolly 
time in Paris. Think of the dulness of the 
women that they see at home!" 

We have come to Montmartre "for fun," 
and perhaps we can have fun, if we keep 

our minds trained up- 
on the superficial side 
of things. We must 
persuade ourselves 
that the dancing-girls are there from terp- 
sichorean passion ; not for the paltry francs 
they gain. We must regard the extrava- 
gantly costumed cocottes as happy nymphs, 
and must believe that, between hectic nights 
in caf6s and slumbrous days in stuffy rooms, 
the ''fiUes dejoie'' lead joyful, soul-satisfying 
lives. In short, we must accept the point of 
view of other casual visitors, and think that 
happiness is manufactured by the topsy- 
turvy formulas of Montmartre. 

Paris a la Carte 77 

Failing to accomplish this inversion, we 
shall see in the region of the Place Pigalle 
only a sample of that sad, artificial gaiety 
which exists in any city where the 'Mid is 

It is to the credit of the French and of 
Montmartre that one sees but little drunk- 
enness up there. And it is to the discredit 
of Americans that they supply such as there 
is. No more excuse for inebriety exists in 
Montmartre than in an insane asylum. 
The place is crazy enough without the aid 
of an excess of alcohol. It is a distorted, 
iridescent world, seen through the bottom 
of a goblet; a dusty, dirty dream, full of 
colour, noise, and confusion, peopled with 
caricatures, and smelling stale as a plush 
dress on which a goblet of champagne has 
been upset. And there you sit and sit until 
the blue dawn begins to percolate through 
roofs of glass, and things and people fade 
and melt in the mixed lights. 


Paris a la Carte 


You grow depressed. It is another morn- 
ing — another day to be met and coped with. 
You shut one eye, relight your cigar, call 
for checks and coats, and leave. 

As you go into the street, a tall, hand- 
some girl from one of the other restaurants 

is passing toward her 
home. Over her lovely 
evening dress is thrown 
a wrap of costly lace. 
Her ebony-black hair is 
piled up wonderfully, and in place of a hat 
she wears two large rosettes of lace and 
ribbon, fastened to the ends of hatpins. 
She turns her slanting, inscrutable black eyes 
to you, notes that you are an '^Anglais,'' 
and says, in staccato accents, as she goes 
upon her way: 

" 'Alio, my dear. Sink of me." 
A little morning pleasantry, in passing 
— that is all. 

The Paris da^wn is very beautiful. It is 

Paris ^ la Carte 79 

blue and cold and pure, and as you clatter 
home through narrow, sleeping streets, the 
mad scenes of the night, which have been 
swinging in your brain like windmills, are 
as the horrors of a past delirium. Paris has 
been bom again, beautiful and virginal, as 
only you, who see her by the light of dawn, 
may ever see her. 

Yet, even then, she is unreal. The trees 
are unreal, the long line of two-wheeled 
carts and the piles of fresh vegetables — 
green, yellow, white — arrayed within them, 
are unreal; the man who is washing down 
the streets with an absurd hose, on rollers, 
is unreal ; the house before which your cab- 
man stops is unreal; and when, later on, 
you offer it to some one, you will find that 
the change the cabman gave you was unreal, 
as well. 


9 '