History of Au Pied de Cochon restaurant in Paris
The Au Pied de Cochon is the legendary restaurant in Paris that has never closed its doors since 1947, however, this was not always the case as it had some very rocky beginnings.
Start of the Pied de Cochon
The restaurant was first established before World War II and was recognised by a very varied clientele where even tramps had their own corner so that they could enjoy the onion soup on offer from the owner Clement Blanc.
However, during the occupation of Paris in World War II, this restaurant, just like many other establishments had its major ups and downs, and had three different managements and several closures during this time of unrest in the city, especially due to black market trading.
But then came the Liberation of Paris and with the forthcoming peace, the original founder, Clement Blanc, took over the Pied de Cochon once more, and he also had an idea of opening this restaurant around the clock.
So, in 1946 he started pursuing the idea of a twenty-four seven business and obtained permission to open throughout the night, and therefore by the started of 1947, the Au Pied de Cochon was the first restaurant in Paris to remain open permanently 365 days a year.
Next stages of the Au Pied de Cochon
Now being located in the Les Halles area of the city, which was at that time home to the large food market, it was a popular place and the restaurant was always busy, and soon became a well known institution where you could eat at any time of the day or night.
It seemed like the Au Pied de Cochon was going to be a continued success, and yes, it was, with celebrities, politicians and many others frequenting this restaurant with its by then famous onion soup and its pork specialities like pig trotters.
Yet a decision was made by the city of Paris to move the French market from Les Halles to Rungis, which by the way, is now the largest food market in the world and a plan by the city was put in place to redevelop the whole area.
The owner Clement Blanc decided to stay put, rather than moving his business to another location and by 1972 he started to see the building works taking place in order to provide a large shopping centre and develop underground RER and metro stations to serve the area better.
However, over this period of redevelopment within the area, the district became rather empty in comparison to prior and times became hard, yet despite all of this, the Au Pied de Cochon still attracted numerous celebrities, and by 1977, Jacques Chirac, who at the time was the Mayor of Paris, became a regular.
The Au Pied de Cochon from the 1980s until today
The period of rebirth of the area followed with the opening of the Forum des Halles, and the restaurant was continuing to attract celebrities from all over the world.
Yet what really put the Au Pied de Cochon permanently on the map, was when Francois Mitterand was elected President on 10th May 1981, and he decided to celebrate his victory at this very restaurant.
Francois Mitterand and his daughter Mazarine were often to be seen dining at this restaurant and celebrities have continued to come even since the early days, yet today this is still no exception.
And there are many names you will no doubt recognise that have dined here over the years such as Salvador Dali, Alfred Hitchcock, Josephine Baker, Brigitte Bardot, Serge Gainsbourg, General Charles de Gaulle, etc and the list goes on, many of whom have signed the guest book.
So, as you can tell, this is a famous restaurant in Paris that still attracts people from all over the world, and you never know who you may bump into at any time of the day or night.