The Café du Palais story


 

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. So, 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.So, 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.

So, 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 familiy 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 ».

Hundreds of objects are exposed evoking the numerous events which took place in this house: jazz concerts, fashion shows or Georges Mélies films projections.

Art Déco seems very well adapted to this heterogeneous decor, run today by Isabelle and Jean-François, representing the fourth generation of the Vogt family.
*Many thanks to Abla for her translation 

JACQUES SIMON STAINED GLASS CEILING


 

In 1928, Jacques Simon signed an important stained glass window. 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.It was previously decorating a billiard room ceiling at Jean Bassereau’s home, a jeweler, in rue de Talleyrand. It was carefully removed and put away when Jean Bassereau decided to extend his home. In 1991 Jean-Louis Vogt, decided to buy it at all costs.In spite of the propositions coming from almost everywhere in France, Jean Bassereau sold the stained glass to Jean-Louis Vogt, allowing this master piece to stay in the « Rémois » Patrimony.

Besides for decades the Vogt and the Simon families have been very close.Benoit-Marc, the glassworker’s grandson showed his affection by offering to Jean-Louis 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 ».

Today, the stained glass, can be admired by everyone, it has found its place in this universe where each objects has its story. Hundreds of objects are exposed evoking the numerous events which took place in this house: jazz concerts, fashion shows or films projections. Art Déco seems very well adapted to this heterogeneous decor.