L’âme du gourmand est toute dans son palais.
- Jean Jacques Rousseau
Under an Art Deco stained-glass ceiling created by Jacques Simon, discover an authentic Cuisine ‘bistro’ a selection of wines by the glass and a large choice of champagnes.
The story started with Louis Millet, the youngest child of a farmers family in Auvergne, who went to Paris to earn a living in the 1920s. After trying, unsuccessfully, to be a taxi driver, he became a waiter. Soon, he wished to set up his own business. He moved to Reims, where he bought a café, the « Tout va mieux » in the « Mont d’Arène » street.
Jeanne, his wife, the Parisian quickly understood that the key for a prosperous business was its location. In 1930, they bought the « Cafe du Grand Théatre », located in the center of the town and they renamed it « Cafe du Palais ». With its two Hénin billiard tables, its cold buffet, its snails and its oysters, the business was working well and already attracted all the Reims society. Jeanne, the maternal grandmother, was then occupying the place of honor at the cash desk, dictating to her small world and her husband Louis as well. After the Louis’ premature death, Jeanne took over with « an iron hand ». Her daughter Suzanne was noticed by Robert Vogt, a pharmacist’s son. He became the husband of the Millets’ only daughter.
Robert became a teacher at the secondary school of Reims then at the famous Saint Louis secondary school in Paris.
Jean-Louis, their son, seemed to be attracted by the catering profession.
Jean-Louis attended a hotel and a catering school in Paris for three years and haunted the jazz cellars. In 1960, he went to London as a trainee in a luxury hotel. There he met Annick, a student in languages and a Breton pharmacist’s daughter.
In 1965, Jeanne handed over the family Business to him.
Little by little and following his passions (painting, theater or jazz). Jean-Louis redecorated the « Café du Palais ». Here the paternal grandmother’s kitsch living room furniture, there the old seats of the « Tout va mieux », a drawing by Marc Chagall, a portrait of Daniel Humair by Gérard Rondeau, watercolours by Luc Simon and David Tremlett, a drawing by Anne Craven, a Sophie Kutten’s sculpture, a work of Christian Lapie.
On the ceiling, a 1928 stained glass, created by the glassworker Jacques Simon. It was the « Belle epoque » time, the fashion was for the Art Déco stylized motives and a modernistic interpretation of nature. This stained glass window is a traditional illustration of that movement. It represents the canopy of heaven. Mauve birds surround indigo plump clouds. Today, somes colors used for this stained glass are nowhere to be found. Benoit-Marq, the glassworker’s grandson offered the painting used as study for its realization. Besides, Luc Simon, the famous artist’s son, and a painter himself, organized an exhibition at the « Cafe du Palais ».
Café du Palais
14 place Myron-Herrick