A Sip of the Past

ghost sign st raphael paris bellevilleOn the corner of the Rue de Belleville and the Avenue Simon Bolivar is perhaps the best example of a ghost sign in Paris today. Ghost signs are the traces of hand-painted wall adverts which are fairly common in rural France but comparatively rare in Paris, but this one for the St Raphael quinquina drink is an excellent model.

Saint Raphael was one of the most popular apéritif drinks in France a generation or so ago, but is very difficult to find today (although you can still buy it here). It is a kind bitter vermouths based on partially fermented grape juice (mistelles) and quinine, with orange, vanilla, cocoa and aromatic plants. It was invented in 1830 by a certain Docteur Juppet, with, as usual, proclaimed medicinal properties!

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