Opened in 1686, The Procope rapidly attracted people who opposed the absolute monarchy. Famous Enlightenment philosophers like Diderot or Voltaire, as well as other lesser-known figures, were regulars here. Before the Revolution, it was even nicknamed the “House of Commons,” in reference to the English Parliament! In 1789, the Procope, which was also called “Café Zoppi,” continued to be a symbol: in 1791, Voltaire’s table was even included in the procession taking his ashes to the Panthéon. Many revolutionaries were neighbors: the journalists Marat and Desmoulins, as well as the deputies Danton and Fabre d’Eglantine.
During the Revolution, the Procope, which was then called “Zoppi,” was much more than a simple café. It was an influential political hub. On October 5, 1791, its regulars even went to read a petition to the National Assembly, in order to congratulate the deputies on their work. Difficult to imagine that today!