Au Père Tranquille and Louis XVI : trompe l’œil or coincidence ?

Have you ever noticed…
that the sign for Paris restaurant Au Père Tranquille bears a striking resemblance to the profile of Louis XVI? … except that Louis is rarely represented with a smile.
Is this a mere coincidence, or another case of the hidden profile trompe l’œil we have seen elsewhere?
Au Père Tranquille is a veritable institution in the neighborhood of Les Halles. The brasserie has occupied this spot (16 rue Pierre Lescot, 1er) since the end of the 19th century, when a strong conservative backlash brought Catholicism and tradition back into style. (Perhaps the smile is his revenge on those republicans who had suppressed the Catholic, royalist past for such a long time?) This restaurant has seen many changes nearby, from the old market Les Halles de Paris, and the present Forum des Halles and, it appears, the Nouveau Forum des Halles to be constructed next year, despite the citizens’ complaints and demonstrations (see our article of May 2010, “Can activism save the trees of Les Halles?”)
What other restaurants–in Paris or elsewhere in France–bear signs hearkening back to revolutionary history? Stand by for more postings to come…

Update (Jan. 25, 2020): on my last trip to Paris in November 2019, I had a wonderful lunch at this restaurant. (Tip: eat on the second floor, where you’ll be welcomed by walls lined with books! What a cozy feeling…) However, I noted that the logo has been updated and no longer resembles Louis XVI so much as a pal of Fernand Léger, as seen in his lithograph Visage au trait rouge et vert no. 5 (1952), for example.  Perhaps that proves we were right?!


6 thoughts on “Au Père Tranquille and Louis XVI : trompe l’œil or coincidence ?

  1. Absolutely striking resemblance ! You are perfectly right ! And I just found the strange médaillon today passing through the Père Tranquille… the most astonishing is the fact that Louis XVI profile is sur impressed by the sketch of a glass called coupe in France (as in a coupe of Champagne). And coupe in French is also a verb meaning cut off… what happened to Louis XVI’s head ! I think there is no coincidence and the purpose of this ancient billboard is clear… Louis XVI is a père tranquille (a serene father) because he was beheaded…
    Congrats for your excellent eye and culture !

      1. No irony at all… and sorry for vexing you in my very bad use of my poor English… Just the fact you didn’t mention the coupe on the King’s face… but all is you wrote is perfectly right and my comment wanted to be fair… sorry for disturbance !

      2. No problem! The logo has been changed since my first article, however, and now the resemblance to Louis XVI is less marked. Someone erased the man’s double chin!

      3. How to send you a new pic of the portraiture? And the importance of the coupe on the face ? To better understand what I meant writing on coupe which has the same Meaning in French then cup and cut in English .?!

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