To write these anecdotes, I ask my father to tell me his memories of the extraordinary moments that have punctuated the life of Coupe-Chou since 1962, the year it opened. Quite an exceptional year, sung by Claude François, a year which initiated so many changes in the world, changes which will accelerate with 68, but we had to prepare well for 68 !
It's funny, by the way, to note that there are years rich in new events, births, deaths, and others that just follow the movement. It was in 1962 that my father and his two associates, Francis Nani and Francis Lemonnier opened Coupe-Chou . It was 1962 that would decide the fate of their whole lives. It was a great year for history, for art, for music, and also for our personal life. When the rhythm of the world's great events meets that of individual lives... And it was precisely in 1962 that the Beatles recorded their first album: "Love me do". And it's a truism to say that the four boys in the wind marked a turning point in the musical universe. That they caused a hysterical tidal wave among their fans. That in order to get around after a concert, they had to invent new scenarios all the time. All that, kids of my generation, we know by heart. We were too young to understand the uproar of Lennon's assassination in 1980, but now we know our catechism on the madness of the 60s better than the catechism itself.
So when my father tells me that in 1965 Bruno Coquatrix phoned him to warn him of the Beatles' arrival in his restaurant after their concert at the Olympia, my eyes lit up... necessarily! The Beatles at Coupe-Chou ! In 65, in the middle of the Beatlesmania!
So I ask him: "How did they arrive? How did they behave? Were there any fans waiting for them outside? "Anyway, I'm bored with questions. I had to write the story of their visit. So he starts telling me. On that night that year, the three bosses of Coupe-Chou were on the lookout for the Fab Four. And in 1965, when you're called The Beatles, you can only make a remarkable entrance. And, the three managers see a salad basket approaching the restaurant. Not a plate of raw vegetables. No, a real salad basket: a police van. A van that's right in front of them. Christian Azzopardi turns to his associates: "What's going on? I hope there's no problem in the neighbourhood, the Beatles are coming! "The anxiety rises as the back door of the van opens. And there, the three bosses of Coupe-Chou see John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison get off. They've driven the hysterical crowd from the Olympia into a police van!
We set them up at a table upstairs.
"So, what did they eat, Daddy?" (I keep asking my father)
- How am I supposed to remember, it was 40 years ago! - he replies.
- But you don't remember anything special, I don't know, the attitude of the customers, did they put the souk? It was the Beatles, after all! I needed material to tell my anecdote. I wasn't just going to write, that one night in 1965, around eleven o'clock, the Beatles had a quiet dinner at Coupe-Chou like anyone else. I needed something exceptional!
- No, I don't see... - says my father again. Ah, yes, I remember they asked for milk.
- Yes, milk.
- Why milk?
- To accompany their meal.
- They drank milk with their meal?
I was stunned! It didn't fit the characters so well. Milk, at that hour, after a mythical concert! It was unbelievable.
- But, my father says, the problem is that a restaurant doesn't usually serve milk. We had to run all over the neighbourhood at midnight to find a few litres... which they drank... well... like whey... and we had to go everywhere to get extra bottles!
I had my anecdote, the Beatles arriving at Coupe-Chou in a salad basket, and sprinkling their success with good bottles of milk they couldn't find! And already, I was imagining the scene of my father and his associates running to other restaurants, waking up the neighbors, the family:
" Excuse me for waking you up, but I could use some milk, it's for the Beatles! "
And I was already imagining the amazement of the callers, half asleep, in their nightgowns, begging for milk for John, Paul, Ringo and George! My imagination started to run from funny scenes to burlesque scenes. And I ask my father.
- Was it a good vintage, at least?
- I wonder if it wasn't the Rolling Stones.
- Excuse me?
- The milk bottle trick, I think it was the Rolling Stones.
- Are you kidding me? Bad Rock boys drinking milk is even more unbelievable than the Beatles!
- Yeah, and it wasn't in '65, it was in the '70s.
- It's a blur, tell me. Are you sure it was the Stones, not the Beatles?...
- I don't know, ask Francis. (Nani, note from myself). Anyway, they all came.
I saw my story getting more and more vague. What the hell am I going to tell? A story about the Stones or the Beatles? They're two magical bands, and that's probably why my father doesn't really know anymore who did what... But we had to be sure, anyway, before writing!
- And who was the salad basket?
- The Stones! No, the Beatles... I don't know anymore. They all came, I tell you. Anyway, when McCartney came back recently, he wanted to have dinner at the same table on the first floor. I'm sure he did.
- Great," I said jadedly, "with this, I can do something sensational! And then, in the end, the Stones, the Beatles or the Compagnons de la Chanson, it doesn't really matter. What matters are all those great years, all those crazy years, even if they get mixed up in our heads. What matters are the years that are coming and that will perhaps be even more wonderful, even crazier. So, in the end, it doesn't matter whether it was the Stones or the Beatles who landed in a salad basket and drank milk.
But still, I'd like to know! But maybe the interested parties, themselves, will answer us... Who knows?
In the mid-60s, Coupe-Chou was already beginning to gain a reputation. Pierre Brasseur, Brigitte Bardot, Louis de Funès often came to dinner...
My father tells me that in 1965, Bruno Coquatrix phoned him to warn him of the Beatles' arrival in his restaurant after their concert at the Olympia, and my eyes lit up!
The Coupe-Chou was not always what it is today, a vast house where small steep corridors lead us to a multitude of small rooms.
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11 Rue de Lanneau, 75005 PARIS
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Maubert-Mutuality, Line 10
Saemes Maubert Collège des Bernardins & Indigo Paris Soufflot-Panthéon
Station Vélib' N°5007 (Écoles-Carmes) 39 rue des Écoles
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French cuisine based on 100% home-made raw products.
Drinks are carefully chosen, craft beers, quality wines and craft spirits.
Business meals, meals with friends, special events and romantic dinners (birthdays and wedding proposals).