Le Bon Vivre
A special ad posted featuring a drawing of a man’s face and an animal’s body in the window of Wepler, afamous restaurant in Paris, France announced the Prix Wepler Literaire 2010.
The ad had thetext: “LE FAUT- IL?” (Does he have to do it? )and the answer “ IL LE FAUT! ( He has to do it!)” Ludwig Van Beethoven.
Below were the names of many candidates for the prize.
Didier Lambert and I received invitations as journalists for Veterans Today. We were told to come at 7:30 p.m. for the awards ceremony which stated at 8 p.m. By 7:45, the place was packed and we went to the front lines to get a good look at the people who would be on the podium. People were talking about the event and professional photographers were setting up their cameras.
Brasserie Wepler which has been in existence over 100 years is very elegant with art deco decor including beautiful chandeliers.It is located in the district of cabarets near Pigalle with the famous Moulin Rouge and near Montmartre the area for artists. It began when a lemonade producer from the Alsace region in France, named Wepler, opened a tavern there in 1810. Brasserie Wepler celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1992.
In the 20th century many famous people ate there such as Picasso, Utrillo,Modiglaini , Toulous Lautrec, Apollinaire and Henry Miller. The waiters dress like traditional waiters in France with black slacks, white shirts, black jackets and special white aprons. The specialty of Wepler is seafood but most of all their oysters and other shellfish. They have fresh seafood platters for two that cost over 100 euros but are great and include an assortment of oysters, clams on the half shell, lobster tails, muscles, and crabs. To go with the meal people order wine or champagne. The food is delicious both to look at and also to eat.
As a brasserie they also serve other dishes such as fish and steak and people can sit outside on the terrace and have just coffee, tea or cold drinks. As with many bistros and cafes in France, the terrace has small heaters that are tall.
Each year in November the famous Wepler where many actors and actresses eat, and Fondation La Poste ( post office’s foundation) gives prizes to honor two special French writers. The 13th Prix Litteraire Wepler La Poste were awarded on November 22, 2010 in the restaurant. with over three hundred guests, who received special invitations The guest list included journalists, artists, book shop owners, the major of Paris,VIPs and other special guests. There were over 400 people there.
First we waited patiently while the winners were announced. On the podium were Marie- Rose Guaniere, who is the organizer of the prize and who is a book seller at Abbesses, Jean-Paul Bailley from Fondation La Poste, Michel Brassier, manager of Wepler and members of the committee who read and judged the novels and the two prize winners. Fondation LaPoste paid for the awards.
Honorable mention went to Jacques Abeille who received three thousand euros for Cycle of the Parts of the Country of which the first volume is Les Jardins Statuaires ( Gardens of Statues) publisher Attila.Jacques Abeille was a professor of painting and sculpture. His writing is poetic and romantic. He alternates long texts with short sentences .
His book is a philosophical story about a traveler who visits a country where the principal activity of the inhabitants is taking care of statues. The statues have some human characteristics and become strange and in the end became thin. The Barbares come and try to destroy the statues. When he was presented honorable mention for a book that was created with a special style of writing for non commercial value, Jacques Abeille gave a little speech that he was honored to receive the prize and thankful to those who helped him.
The first prize for ten thousand euros went to Linda Lê. She was born in Viet Nam in 1963. In 1977, she immigrated to France with her mother as a refugee but her father stayed in Viet Nam. Linda does not speak any Vietnamese .She has written several books but it was after her third book that she was recognized as a writer with an original style. Cronos, the book for which she won the prize is a political fable about tragedy in a country run by an cruel dictator, having corruption of money and the events that followed.. It also has a love story like Antigone. Linda was surprised and happy to win the prize. She was grateful to her publisher and others who helped her.
After the prizes, Wepler served champagne, wine and other drinks. They had hors d’ouvres and for some lucky ones who raced outside oysters on the half shell for which Wepler is famous.Each day Wepler sells oysters from their stand outside the restaurant.
The Prix Literaire provided a great opportunity for journalists, bookstore owners, art gallery personnel in the vicinity and other invited guests to mingle and become acquainted. Everyone was happy to be invited and enjoyed seeing the presentations and the food and beverage.
While the champagne was being served, a DJ played techno music. When the food was finished, the dancing began! It was great to see many people dancing. The good results were that we learned about two great novels and that we were invited to other celebrations for art and literature by people we met there.
While the champagne was being served, a DJ played tehno music. When the food was finished, the dancing began! It was great to see many people dancing. The good results were that we learned about two great novels, met many interesting people and were invited to other celebrations for art and literature.