You wonder if Adrienne would like the walls.
At Chez La Vieille in the center of Paris, the white walls—off-white by wear rather than design—are now a steely blue and the long wood table crammed with chairs replaced by a handful of dark two-tops. That lingering musty smell is gone, too, but the old lady’s prints of Parisian streets still hang.
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Adrienne Biasin was the notoriously grumpy proprietress and cook who earned her name “la vieille” (old lady) when she was still in her twenties. After opening Chez La Vieille almost 60 years ago in a small apartment building with a spindly staircase, she cooked for the French elite—Michelin-starred chefs, celebrities—who yearned for her rustic, on-the-fly, no-frills food. Garlic soup with thin, slippery noodles. Mustardy rabbit stew. She was very particular about who came into her restaurant. Nabbing one of the ten tables was a serious feat.