Check out number 119 rue Saint-Lazare if you are in the neighbourhood of Gare Saint-Lazare. You will discover one of Paris’ oddest buildings: the Alsatian Brasserie Au roi de la biere.
The Alsatian brasserie Au roi de la biere
Sandwiched between two Haussmannian buildings, the Alsatian brasserie Au roi de la Bière at number 119 rue Saint-Lazare clashes with its surroundings.
Most websites and blogs about Paris will tell you that this is a typical Alsatian house… to which I’d say ‘well, not really’. Although it does show half-timbering, the façade shares some similarities with Flemish style. The cob (a mixture of clay, straw and animal hair) has been replaced here with bricks. Now look up at the statue of the man on the second floor. It represents Gambrinus, the King of Beer. We’re not talking about a guy fond of Kronenbourg but of Flanders.
Anyway, to make it more ‘Alsatian’ the builders considered adding a fake white stork on the chimney. Just underneath you can spot the coat of arms of Strasbourg.
Pretty kitsch indeed!
The legend of Gambrinus
Legend has it that Gambrinus was a carillonist living in the French Flanders. Following an unhappy love affair, he made a deal with the devil. In exchange for his soul, he would forget his lover and been given hops seeds. Thus Gambrinus became the King of Beer. Today, the legendary figure still plays an important role in the folk traditions of Flanders.
The construction of the brasserie
The Alsatian brasserie Au roi de la bière was built in 1892 by architect Chausson to house a restaurant. Two years later, the house underwent a complete refurbishment to become an Alsatian brasserie. Known as “Au roi de la Bière” the building has been listed as a Historic Monument by the French State since 1997. It now houses a McDonald’s restaurant.
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Where to find the Alsatian brasserie Au roi de la biere
- Location: 119 rue Saint-Lazare, 8th arrondissement
- Closest métro station: Gare Saint-Lazare (métro lines 3, 12, 13 and 14)
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