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Restaurant de France - Expo Paris 1889

Restaurant de France at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889
Architect(s) : Jacques Lequeux

From the very first day, people have become so accustomed to having lunch and even dinner at the Exhibition that, despite the large number of restaurants that you see at the Champ de Mars, and that you can even feel a little too many when you walk through certain galleries, there are still not enough to satisfy all your appetites, which generally open at the same time.

At the Trocadero, where there are fewer crowds, but where you nevertheless go much more than you might have expected at first, there is only one restaurant, but it is monumental and as such deserves engraving and description.

It is the Restaurant de France, built by Mr. Jacques Lequeux, who has taken admirable advantage of the situation placed at his disposal on the heights of the Trocadero, from which, as everyone knows, one has the most complete view of the Exhibition proper that could be desired.

In order to increase the number of good seats in the open air, and in view of this splendid panorama, the architect laid out a series of terraces on his façade, superimposed in tiers.

These open terraces also satisfy the increasingly popular taste of diners who like to eat outside.

Besides, it is no small pleasure, when one has been running all afternoon through the galleries of the Palaces or in the dust of the Esplanade, to settle down in the cool of one of these terraces, and to enjoy a rest that the calm of the place makes even more delicious, especially since the noise of the crowd, which has certainly tired you more than the walking and the admiration, only reaches you as a slight murmur.

However considerable this pleasure may be, it can still be doubled by that which a good meal always gives; but I do not have here to sing the praises of the cuisine of the Restaurant de France, I only want to deal with the building, whose importance is quite considerable.

Built in the Moorish style, it consists of a ground floor and a second floor, which are set back from each other thanks to the terraces that accompany them.
On the first terrace, in front of the building, there is a portico made up of wooden pillars surmounted by columns, which support an upper terrace forming a gallery around the restaurant rooms, which have a portico of seven ogival arches in front of them, whose pleasing proportions give this floor a rather monumental appearance, enhanced, moreover, by the Italian-style terrace that covers it.

A central motif, in harmony with the two square turrets which form the corners, and in which the staircases are housed, cheerfully completes the Restaurant de France, which distinguishes itself from other buildings of this type by its graceful and original appearance.

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition - Justin Cardier.