PARIS, A GOURMET’S DELIGHT.
PARIS, THE HEART
PARIS THE BEAUTIFUL
OH! HOW I WISH I WAS THERE NOW! (Photo by David Schiffman)
PARIS, ARC DE TRIOMPHE AT NIGHT
Skipping through ‘Google’ recently, this site is so amazing! It’s like having your own personal reference library.
I came across a photo of Hugh Heffner, the Playboy magnate, dining at “Au Mouton de Panurge” in Paris in 1970. It reminded me of the many times that Ray and I dined there and set me thinking about those times
The Hotel Scribe in Paris.
During the 60’s and the 70’s, Ray and I always stayed at the Hotel Scribe whenever we were in Paris. It was so central and we could walk practically everywhere. It was just around the corner from the “Olympia Theatre” where I saw the wonderful Josephine Baker four times in “Paris Mes Amours.” We would also eat at least once on each visit at the Restaurant,“AU MOUTON DE PANURGE,” which was only a short walk from the Hotel Scribe.
The Hotel Scribe at Night
The history that surrounded this hotel is quite amazing, but in those days I had no idea, and until recently I wasn’t really interested.
The Hotel Scribe isn’t just an ordinary luxury hotel like its neighbor, the illustrious Opéra Garnier, which happens to be the most famous Opera House in the World.
The Opera Garnier, the most famous opera house in the world.
Remember, Opera Garnier was the scene for the Gaston Leroux novel “Phantom of the Opera”, which was also made into a musical, a play and a film four times.
The hotel was built in 1861. Since then, it’s served as the cradle of cinema and housed some of the most famous artistic names of all time. The hotel’s history and ties to the dramatic arts are still strong. On the fourth floor, there is a tribute to former resident Serge Diaghilev, founder of Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, who appeared regularly at the Opera House. ( If I would have known it, I would have insisted on a room on the fourth floor )
There’s a story around every corner of the Scribe. The first public presentation of the Lumière brothers’ revolutionary invention, the Cinematograph, took place at the Hotel Scribes in 1895.
The Scribe Hotel was, and still is, an icon of Parisian luxury. Thinking about it now, there is no way that I could possibly afford to stay at the Scribe at today’s prices, much as I would love to do so. But I digress.
AU MOUTON DE PANURGE IN PARIS.
The Temple of Good Eating
17 rue de Choiseul, 2nd arrondissement Paris.
Au Mouton de Panurg
Pour les gourmands, les gourmets, et les goinfres.
(For connoiseurs of fine food, for the greedy and also for gluttons).
The Decor and Menu were designed by Albert DuBout (1905-1976), the famous Rabelais Illustrator. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what the word Rabelais means, I didn’t know either until I Googled it!)
The colourful and humorous souvenir menu had bawdy illustrations by DuBout. It had the same bawdy humour as one would find in the old naughty seaside postcards.
AU MOUTON DE PANURGE.
On entering the restaurant we were confronted by a large bell,
The clapper of the bell was in the shape of an erect phallus complete with balls, which the ladies were requested by the waiters to stroke and then ring. You can see where I’m going! Some were shocked and some mildly protested, although those who protested too much always seemed to hold onto the clapper longer than the others, but finally they all rang the bell! So once the bell was rung the evening started, and the bell seemed to be ringing continually. The food and wine were excellent and there was plenty to choose from in the gourmet menu. As you can see the bread rolls which were in the same shape as the clapper in the bell, left nothing to the imagination.
Do you think she measured it?
Hugh Heffner and his ladyf riend.who just couldn’t decide whether she should just nibble at it, or eat it whole!
The Beatles, Brian Epstein (with a chamber pot on his head) and George Martin.
A Press Quote
“THE RIOTOUS MOUTON”
Well, here’s the damnedest place you ever got into. It is a prime favorite with many serious gourmets. Both male and female; food’s excellent , wine list is good, mirth runs riot, and prices are fair.
CHARLES H. BAKER JR. (ESQUIRE)
The Au Mouton de Panurge, was a Parisian restaurant named for the French expression that refers to a person who blindly follows others, like sheep, without regard to the consequences. “The Sheep of Panurge,” was at 17 rue de Choiseul. 2nd. Arrondissment Paris.
Ray and Rose (my mother) and me spending an enjoyable evening at “Au Mouton de Panurge”
Later in the evening between the first and second courses, when the wine was flowing and everyone was enjoying themselves, the waiter would request the lady to stand on the table, and he would place a garter on her leg, just above the line of decency. The whole evening was hilarious, and great fun was had by all.
Our good friend Lydia Lova joining in the fun.
Ray Jackson and Mark Canter (the costume designer) with Lydia Lova and me.
Having a great evening at “Au Mouton de Panurge.
A Press Quote
“PARIS AFTER DARK”
A Paris Restaurant that would never get by the Boston censors. Based on the Rabelais theory that laughter is the right of man, “AU MOUTON DE PANURGE” is jammed seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
ART BUCHWALD (The New York Herald Tribune)
Another young lady receiving the garter
The menu has a variety of famous signatures reproduced on it. The elite celebrity patrons included such famous names as Jean Cocyeau, Jean Marais, Martine Carol, Albert Schweitzer, Clarke Gable, Marcel Pagnol, Ali Khan, Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Errol Flynn, Mistinguette, Edith Piaf, the Beatles and Hugh Heffner. They were just a few among many others who dined at “Au Mouton De Panurge”.
TRATTORIA DELL’ARTE NEW YORK
The closest I have come across to the wonderful “Au Mouton de Panurge” was this year when I was in New York in June and went along on my first night for dinner with Angie and her family at the Trattoria Dell’Arte on 7th.Avenue, opposite Carnegie Hall.
This bustling Tuscan restaurant has boobs, buns, lips and other body parts on it’s wall, even noses, but it was not quite Rabelais
The food was excellent, with a wonderful choice, as was the wine, and the atmosphere was electric.
So what more could one ask for? Well, maybe it would have been nice if some of the ladies were nibbling at a bread roll and a few of them stroking and ringing the bell!!!