Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
Tucked on the busiest corner of the upper Marais, where Rues de Bretagne, Vieille du Temple, Turenne and Filles du Calvaire make an ever congested intersection, Le Progrès is an ever changing Café-Bar-Tabac.
On early weekday mornings, you’ll find the lovely local mums and dads having their café here after delivering the children to school. During the day, American, Japanese, German and other visitors of the upper Marais and its museums and shops stop by, there’s a lunch-time rush hour bringing in the neighbouring shopkeepers, while the nights belong to large crowds of shiny, happy people who seem to come from all over Paris.
Hard to say what the secret is: In fact, Le Progrès is not overwhelmingly beautiful (at least by Parisian standards). The food is average at best. The service can be quite rough and the most sophisticated cocktail might turn out to be just a tall gin and tonic.
And yet: During the summer season, when the whole trottoir in front of the café – it’s a large one, with a long front – turns into a splendid terrace, the place feels southern, relaxed, cool. And for any visitor it’s really nice to see how the locals interact – watching them shake hands before buying cigarettes, cracking jokes that you’ll never understand with the waiters, playing, overall, their roles in that grand theatre play named Paris, where every table, every chair can make a stage for the comedy of life.Le Progrès 1, rue de Bretagne 75003 Paris