At Rouen’s La Couronne, They’ve Served Since 1345

P1540964 761067 Last night for dinner we choose the oldest Inn in France. It was opened in 1345 and through the centuries the owners at La Couronne have compiled the ultimate walk of fame up and down their staircase and in the upstairs dining room.

A panoply of French stars and old Hollywood royalty shine smiling in signed photographs on the wall. Here is Ernest Hemingway, there’s Salvador Dali, there is the bright and beautiful Princess Grace. We even have the Queen of England, who signed for the folks too. Oh, and the last emperor of Ethiopia, he ate here too.

It was a bit chilly in the still light night air as we sat outside and enjoyed veal, some Norman chicken, and especially savored the Normandy cheese selection that our Peruvian waiter deftly dished up using two knives. A throng of Belgian tourists walked by, identified by nametags, and young cool French cats defied the chilliness in short sleeves, puffing on their Gauloises.

It’s always a pleasure to settle up after a night of fine service with a bill that’s straight up. No taxes no tips, just 60 euros, split down the middle. Oh, that’s the other nice thing about dining with a colleague, I don’t have to pick up the check.