Founded in 1686 and located across the street from the Comédie-Française, the café was a favorite haunt for the actors, as well as the leading literary figures and intellectuals of the eighteenth century, including Diderot and Voltaire.
In "The Marquise," the heroine visits this café disguised as a boy to be near the actor she secretly loves. She learns more than she would like about him and his past. She also comes across one of the police spies who haunted cafés in disguise at the period, listening for evidence of political dissent.
The Café Procope is still open as a restaurant. In 1989, it was restored to its original eighteenth-century decor.