Le Virage Murals in Walnut Creek


Last week I pointed out that the colorful murals from the now closed French restaurant Le Virage in Walnut Creek have been painted over. Several months before this happened I took extensive photos of the murals and looking back I find them pretty darn cool, don’t you think? They covered the entire building, in the back and on the second floor as well. It’s too bad they are now gone. For those that didn’t see the earlier post, you can check out a mural from the inside here.

Facing N. Main St:

Notice that even the hinges are painted:

Check out more photos of the mural including the Eiffel Tower after the jump…

Check out the juggler:

The top part of the Eiffel Tower is actually separated by several feet:

In the back:

Does anyone know what these murals are? I imagine they are from scenes in France. Has anyone dined at Le Virage? How was it? What did you think of the murals at that time?

  • Elizabeth Mackey

    I think it is kind of sad that it was painted over, kind of like an end to an era. The murals in the last photo look very much like Toulouse Lautrec.

    • http://beyondthecreek.com Beyond the Creek

      That’s good to know, thanks! BTW, a comment in the previous post about Le Virage points out that they were forced to paint it over by the city.

  • http://twitter.com/StyleDiablo Kristen Haney

    this makes me SO sad. I live nearby, and I’m too young to remember the restaurant there, but the murals were such a colorful part of that corner. I hate the new brown. Almost as much as people hate fountain head by the bank.

    • http://beyondthecreek.com Beyond the Creek

      Yes, it’s unfortunate, but apparently they were forced to paint it over by the city. I know a lot of people aren’t thrilled by the fountain head downtown, but many times when I walk by a child is enjoying touching the head so there are some who are getting enjoyment from it. Thanks for sharing.

      • over thewater

        I’m not too bad on the head but my kids love it and I suppose art has to hit all ages.

  • Matt

    It was incredible, but like SO many , GREAT things , that my hometown used to have, and be, it is destroyed by the Rodeo Drive wannabe attitude of the City.

  • Wondering

    I totally agree with the poster who said some of the images are like Lautrec. It definitely looks to me as though the muralist was going for that style — that whole kind of Montmartre cafe and nightlife ambiance of another era. … Thanks for posting these photos! I see this bldg all the time when going back and forth on BART and have wondered what it is (haven’t lived in Walnut Ck that long). I found your post now, after googling the restaurant name from last night’s fire.

  • debbeeh

    My friend painted these murals over a period of many, many years. He painted the entire inside of the restaurant also. All the walls & ceilings throughout the restaurant, bar, entry, restrooms, staircase, etc., The upstairs were private rooms each one was painted with entire murals on all walls & the ceiling. Yes, they are based on Toulouse Lautrec artwork and France. My friend is T. Scott Sayre. He grew up in Concord and lives in Trona now. He put the faces of his family, the restaurant employees, and the family who owned the restaurant on the people he painted in the murals. The bar had the a night scene of the San Francisco skyline & bridges; and the bar ceiling had angels looking down at you from heaven as if they were watching customers get intoxicated. It was the most amazing place and I am so sad those days are gone. Scott Sayre also painted many, many other murals around the bay area – for example he painted the Jack London mural on the outside wall at Jack London Square.

    • http://beyondthecreek.com Beyond the Creek

      Fascinating, thanks for sharing! What a shame it’s gone now.

  • Matthew

    I worked there as a teenager in 1980. Instead of “bus boy”, we were called “captain’s assistants.” You had to work there, without pay, until you understood all the French on the menu. It was high pressure, but I loved the place. The chef would feed us the most incredible food, before the place opened for the evening. I remember Willi McCovey was a regular, back then.