Le Grand Colbert, taken from the name of Louis XIV’s famous minister, a well versed man on French cuisine in which some dishes still refer to his celebrity, is situated in the heart of the 2nd district in Paris which borders the Palais Royal gardens, la Place des Victoires, the Stock Exchange and well known theatres such as Les Bouffes Parisiens, La Michodière as well as Le Theatre des Variétés, Palais Royal and many others.
At the beginning of its construction in 1637 by Guillaume de Serrant (using plans by Le Vau) the building was a town house. It was sold to Jean-Baptisite Colbert in 1665 then to Philippe d’Orléans in 1719. In 1806 he was busy trying to raise money for the treasury until the building’s sale in 1825. The town house was torn down to make room for the building we see today as well as the opening of the Galerie Colbert in 1825. The Galerie Colbert at this time was a competitor to its neighbor, La Galerie Vivienne. In the same vicinity several fashion and perfume stores as well as reading rooms opened up. It was under the reign of Louis-Philippe that a new store opened it’s doors under the name, Au Grand Colbert.
The name was kept until 1900 when it was turned into a restaurant. It was, up until it’s closing a few years ago, one of the “hot spots”, the best deal in Paris. Under the influence of the National Library, the owner, all of the original details were renovated in 1985 at the same time as the Galerie Colbert.
You can find in the large room an architectural volume which is quite impressive, walls as high as 6 meters, relics, in particular, sculpted pilasters and their consoles. You can also admire paintings in a Pompeian style of which there are very few examples in Paris. The mosaique floor, exactly like the one in the Galerie Vivienne, is worth admiring.
Today, Le Grand Colbert has now been listed as an historic monument and has been managed by Joel Fleury since August 1992 and his business team. They welcome and serve a cosmopolitan clientele among which are actors, top models, designers, movie stars, businessmen, tourists and some regulars.
This client diversity has given Joel Fleury the statute of Grand Brasserie Parisienne. His chef proposes a full menu and offers a choice of traditional brasserie meals where typical French dishes are mixed with original recipes that have an exotic touch.