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On a very rainy and rather chilly evening, while looking for a place to get a warm drink, I stumbled upon the Vaudeville, quite serendipitously.
Located at the corner of Rue Vivienne and Rue de la Bourse, there sits one of the most beautiful art deco brasseries in Paris. Its history goes way back to the 19th century, when it was one of the preferred gathering places of artists and theater goers, thanks to its famous neighbor and namesake, Théâtre de Vaudeville. The old building sadly succumbed to several fires and, later on, to Baron Haussmann’s modernization plans.
The theater moved to Boulevard des Capucines, while the resilient restaurant rose from the ashes, occupying its current location since 1918. To celebrate its centenary in 2018, the Vaudeville was updated with modern touches such as a new outdoor seating area and beautiful midnight-blue banquettes and chairs. The original gilded mirrors, marble walls, and mosaic floors remain to tell the story of the Roaring Twenties’ opulence and decadent style.
The menu was updated as well to better accommodate changing tastes and more exigent demands of its clientèle. It retained, however, the quintessential ingredients that one would hope to find in a typical French brasserie: a good, hearty meal that doesn’t break the bank.
Eggs Benedict with salmon, a croque-monsieur with fries or a beef fillet with Béarnaise sauce are some options that you would expect, and the Vaudeville delivers successfully. What makes the place stand out is the vast array of seafood it offers, from a quick “happy oyster” (3 oysters Belondines and a glass of white wine to be had as an after-work quick bite) to an abundant seafood platter to share with friends, either to dine in, or take out.
As for the drinks, you can order from the champagne bar, or from the extensive list of wines and spirits. And if you need a caffeine boost after dinner, they claim that their Irish coffee is the best in town. That’s what I opted for, on that rainy, chilly Paris night, and I was not disappointed.