Le Coq Hardi, Bougival, France 1950s
The famous Hostellerie du Coq Hardi was located on the banks of the river Seine in Bougival, about 12 miles from Paris. It opened in 1880 and was famed for its food, its wine cellars dug into the hillside and its lovely terraces and gardens. The historic town of Bougival and the beautiful surrounding countryside attracted many Impressionist painters including Renoir, Monet and Pissaro. Perhaps some of them dined here. This menu cover by the famous French artist Guy Arnoux features the Coq Hardi or old rooster. In gorgeous colors, the rooster is outlined against the sun with the undulating hills of the French countryside and its charming small towns behind it. Arnoux, born in 1886, illustrated nearly 80 books, many of them children’s books. He was a successful commercial artist who created advertisements, menus and posters. His style was folk art, traditional but with a modern twist. The Metropolitan Museum in New York has ten of Arnoux’s works including some of the images he created between 1912 and 1925 for the famous fashion magazine Gazette Du Bon Ton. Dated from the late 1950s, the back of this menu gives diners a handy guide to the vintages of various French wines, giving marks out of 20 for the years from 1915 to 1955. The year 1947 appears to be the winner across the board. Interestingly, it includes an advert for Chrysler, Plymouth and Volkswagen automobiles on sales in a showroom on the Champs Élysées.
When Hostellerie du Coq Hardi closed only a few years ago, many newspapers in France lamented the end of this famous institution. The restaurant Chez Clément has opened in its place.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu or cover.