Le Ragueneau in the words of Rostand: Cyrano de Bergerac and his cultural footprint
The myth and the character
Built on the ashes of the theatre in which Molière presented his first play, “The imaginary Cuckold”, le Ragueneau is today famous not only for the quality of its cuisine but also thanks to the quill of Edmond Rostand. Cyrano de Bergerac, first name Savinien, was a true lover of the pastry chef’s Almond tartlets.
We should be careful not to confuse Savinien Hercule Cyrano de Bergerac, the 17th Century poet, free thinker and a regular customer of Cyprien Ragueneau (“the pastry chef of actors and poets”) with the eponymous character in Rostand's play he inspired.
Posterity born of the quill
The history of le Ragueneau restaurant cannot be disentwined from this mythical figure of French literature. As with Hitchcock, he is mainly remembered for his profile, or in this case a very prominent nose. Yet this archetypal image is somewhat simplistic. He also represents first and foremostly an ethical stance, underpinned by such values as courage, dedication and sacrifice at the service of one overriding interest: love.
Edmond Rostand’s celebrated character, Cyrano de Bergerac, now forms part of the pantheon of great literature, as does his creator, a member of the Académie Française since 1901.
The undying legacy of Rostand's hero, Cyrano de Bergerac
It was a turbulent period in France’s history, marked by the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, the Dreyfus Affair and the assassination of President Sadi Carnot by anarchist factions. In this challenging context the colourful figure of Cyrano appeared, to remind a battered and shaky nation of its identity and values. Le Ragueneau is still steeped in this heritage.
Vincent Sitz, the proprietor, makes a point of conveying this through a rustic cuisine, using recipes that are sometimes several centuries old.Even though the restaurant is regularly full of diners from all walks of life, the walls still vibrate with the echo of the comic actors who once came, and still come today, to enjoy the food.
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