Rather Café des arts or Café des sports? Bistros are very popular in France, but where does this word come from? According to the media Paris zig zag, the “bistro” is actually a purely Parisian term. In the beginning, these are theoretically small cafes, run by the “bougnats”, Auvergne migrants who decided to leave their land during the industrial revolution. At that time, we recognize a “bistro” by its very popular atmosphere. For the workers, these are places of passage: to drink a coffee, a beer and eat at low prices.
The word comes from a regionalism imported to Paris in the 19th century. It would take its name from “bistraud”, a word from the Poitevin language designating a wine merchant. Or perhaps “bistouille”, this coffee where you add brandy, a typical recipe from the North of France. It may also be the slang “Bistingo”, which meant “Cabaret” at this time.
On the other hand, the origin of this word seems to tend from the side of popular legends to the Russian occupation of 1814. It would have been found on the Place du Tertre in Montmartre a plaque explaining its history. Russian soldiers in Paris sought to join the city’s cafes while on duty, which was prohibited. Thus, they challenged the tenants of the places by saying to them: “Bistro”, or in French: Quick! Because they didn’t want to be caught in the act.
However, linguists seem to say that this hypothesis is unlikely: this word does not appear in Russian literature until 1884.
In France, there are 130,000 bistros according to Les Pages Jaunes. Many have the same name. Planet has produced the slideshow below for you. It presents the ranking of the most famous bistros in France, according to an infographic by BFMTV.