A legendary temple of jazz music, Le Bœuf sur le Toit has successfully combined elegance and modernity while preserving its Art Deco soul. Come taste the latest trends in our original, typically Right Bank food, just a stone’s throw from the Champs Élysées.
The history of Le Bœuf sur le Toit is closely tied to that of a joyful band of poets and musicians led by Cocteau and Milhaud who met on Saturday nights in the exuberant enthusiasm of jazz and triumphant Dadaism. When the young Louis Moysès enlisted Jean Wiener, a pianist friend of Milhaud, to play at the tiny bar he opened on Rue Duphot in 1921, these “Samedistes” made it their meeting place in spite of the cramped quarters. When it fell victim to its meteoric success, Le Gaya had to take its teeming, buoyant clientele elsewhere.
Reconvening at a new location, Moysès–awed by his good fortune–put his restaurant under the auspices of Cocteau and Milhaud. He named it Le Bœuf sur le Toit, after the Brazilian refrain that had recently inspired the two artists’ composition and ballet of the same name. For nearly 20 years, through the noise and laughter and dances and cocktail parties, the Bœuf would jump to five different roofs in the 8th arrondissement before settling on the Rue du Colisée in 1941, followed by its elegant, loyal and trendy retinue.
As the after-hours stage for musicians who gathered for unending improvised concerts, the Bœuf gave jazz the expression “faire un bœuf” (“have some beef”), which probably has its origins in the invitations extended by Django Reinhardt to his colleagues after concerts: “Shall we have some bœuf?” ». Depending on the night, one might encounter Cocteau trying out the drum set offered by Coco Chanel, Juliette Greco warbling her greatest hits or Charles Trenet and Léo Ferré setting poems to music…
A witness to the Roaring Twenties in all their excess and a glorious home to the lust for life of the inter-war years: in times of feast and famine alike, Le Bœuf sur le Toit remained a convivial temple of avant garde ideas and a joyful, impertinent haven for triumphant freedom. Driven by the intoxication of an ever-celebratory Paris, it continuously honours fine arts and the culinary arts.
007 Travelers had a table reservation at this lovely restaurant and we visited here on a nice November evening in 2013. We got a table number three and had a tasty dinner and desserts. During the meal we were able to hear someone playing beautiful songs with a grand piano. This was our last night in Paris this time and it was really a great way to end our visit in the capital city of France.
“During that Paris spring-time they went everywhere together – to see the horses run at Longchamp (where he was bored), to watch the twenty-four-hour race at Le Mans (where he wanted to drive) and to the latest show at Le Boeuf sur le Toit (where, for the first time in her life, she felt jealous).”