A comedie francaise stronghold
The restaurant “for lovers of good meat”
Located at 202 rue Saint-Honoré, le Ragueneau is in the heart of the Palais Royal neighbourhood, home to the State Council, the Constitutional Council and the Louvre, as well as the Comédie-Française.
This institution, founded in 1680 by Louis XIV, guarantees the continuity of one troupe of comic actors.While it was originally designed to “make the plays’ performances more perfect”, it was really used to fight against the hegemony of Italian actors, including the commedia dell’arte, which had been spreading dangerously in Europe for nearly a century.
A pastry chef who dreamed of becoming an actor
Around the same time Cyprien Ragueneau, a young rôtisseur from Paris who had just taken over the family business, decided to settle in the restaurant’s current spot.
A theatre under Cardinal Richelieu’s control was located on the site until it was destroyed by fire. The young Cyprien soon made a name for himself amongst the powerful that came to enjoy his pies and his by then famous Almond tartlets.A true aesthete at heart, Cyprien was a prolific writer, even though his poems and plays were never published.
It was therefore only natural that he extended credit to actors in need, on the condition that they agreed to evaluate the quality of his texts. Amongst the renowned figures that were regulars at the “Amis de la Haulte Graisse” - the name of Ragueneau’s restaurant for many years - was the polemicist Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, the inspiration for Edmond Rostand’s eponymous play, and a certain Molière, in whose company the pastry chef was to spend his last days.
The Comédie-Française and le Ragueneau: three centuries of history
The ties that bind le Ragueneau and the Comédie-Française are both sentimental and historical. On the one hand, Molière was named honorary Patron of the latter illustrious institution only seven years after his death. Edmond Rostand, the author of Cyrano was admitted to the same in 1901. Moreover, the armchair in which Molière slipped from life to death is exhibited as a relic in a glass case in the front hall of the establishment.Only the most brilliant actor of the troupe had the right to claim this throne.
On the other hand, Cyprien Ragueneau earned his place in history thanks to Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano. Legend has it that Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac loved to sing the praises of the delicious almond crème tartlets, topped with raspberry jam, offered to him by Cyprien in exchange for a few verses and the pleasure of his company.
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