Want to taste a bit of scandal, literally? Drag your lover to Laperousse, one of Paris’ oldest and most frivolous establishments.
Here’s its little story: this former private mansion was converted into a winery and restaurant in the late 18th century by the French king’s very own limonadier (the guy in charge of all the royal booze), as it was conveniently situated in front of an important poultry and game market at Quai des Grands Augustins. In order to facilitate the visiting businessmen’s negotiations, the upstairs servant’s quarters were transformed into “petits salons”, where they could discretely get on with their business. However honorable these intentions may have been, the place was quickly flooded with rich merchants and noblemen looking for a place to conduct some different type of business with their mistresses and courtisanes.
Laperousse’s petits salons became infamous, their opulent interior with private locks and kinky mirrors only enhancing the reputation of sexy love heavens. Spicy detail: you’ll notice the original mirrors bearing many scratches; marks left there by courtisanes checking the authenticity of the diamonds they were paid with by their wealthy admirers. A lot of famous names contemplated –and maybe enhanced- those very same scratches over the years: writers such as Emile Zola, Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, but also infamous lovers like the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson, princess Margaret, and even the Aga Khan gladly spend the night. Nowadays, you visit the recently restored place for its rich history more than for the food: ask for a table in one of the authentic salons and enjoy the taste of decadence!