In Zorba, between Portugal, Greece and Kabylia, the melting pot postpones its tour

There are The origin of the world, and then the origin of Zorba. Either way, it’s mysterious. “It’s like in the movie, you know, Zorba the Greek ? They called the bar that because before, the bosses were a Kabyle and a Greek ”, says Rabah Becheur, 38, himself Kabyle and manager, since 2017, of Zorba, a legendary bistro in Belleville, in Paris. Eric arrives, butcher’s apron, fist check with Rabah on the noisy and crowded little terrace. “Ah there, he knows everything, he’s going to tell you everything!” “

Rabah Becheur, boss of Zorba, in front of Zorba employees and regulars, in the Belleville district of Paris, May 28, 2021.

Eric has worked at Elido, the butcher next door, for forty years. “In 1982, I finished my day, I put the apron down and I came to serve here. In the evening, we pulled back the red curtain, and we set up the poker at the back of the room. I served the whiskeys, the spirits. It was great, I was drinkingœthere, until midnight, 1 o’clock. Be careful, I was working black, eh. At the time, the bosses were an Egyptian and a Portuguese. Philippe and uh wait Joseph ? » Floating. The clientele, on the other hand, he remembers well: “In the morning, it was Yugoslavs and French; in the afternoon, from the West Indies; and in the evening, Moroccans, Tunisians, Egyptians. ”

“Absences not tolerated”

A voice rises from the next table. Blue cap, bag full of bananas on his feet, half-blonde in his hands, a man says: “Eric, he’s the only Gaul in the neighborhood! “ Nobody listens to him, so he says it again, louder. Rabah takes up his family tree from the bistro. “In 2007, a Moroccan woman took over management. And in 2009, it was José, the Basque, until I bought it back from him. “ A guy comes in, takes a chair like his name is written on it. “Ah, that’s Abbas, the Spaniard!” “ The Spaniard goes to get a half and returns to his chair. Rabah: “I had hired him as a security guard to do the afters, from 5 to 10 in the morning. One day he shows up to work at 5 o’clock, in Bermuda shorts, drunk! So I sent him back. Well, he didn’t come home, he went to the bar to order himself a drink. ”

“When you experience a certain loneliness at home, you need to get out of it. A place like Le Zorba is rare. In Paris, it is on the way out. “- Mohamed

Like Mohamed, 51, black hat, suit jacket, beer, sitting at the table next door with the man with the bananas. “One day, three years ago, I went in for a drink. I stayed all night. The trap. “ Since then, it’s been every day. “Like at the ANPE! Absences not tolerated. “ The rest of the time he’s a taxi. “When you experience a certain loneliness at home, you need to get out of it. A place like Le Zorba is rare. In Paris, it is on the way out. “ In front of him, the man with the bananas nods. “Yes, here everyone mixes, all nationalities. Okay, except the Chinese; them, they stay between them. “ To introduce himself, he takes out his identity card. Lucas, 70 years old. Before, his name was Achour, but he asked to be reinstated in French nationality, which he had lost at the time of the independence of Algeria, and he took the opportunity to change his first name. “France has given me everything: education, housing, work. At the next election, I will vote Le Pen! Look at all these Arabs. We must find a little civility. Even I include myself in the observation. France to the French! “ His hours at the Zorba are from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. After, place for young people.

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