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La Tour d’Argent Relaunches The Legendary "Ratatouille Restaurant" With 442 Years of Rich History: The Updates.

Alessandra Meldolesi
copertina la tour d argent

In Paris, the legend is called Tour d’Argent: here the canard à la presse is still served as Frédéric Delair intended, and the lucky guest receives it along with the certificate of the serial number, which has now surpassed a million. But after 15 months of renovation, the establishment, in the same hands for 3 generations, looks to the future with anything but stale atmospheres.

Cover photo: @SCOOP-PARIS MATCH-Eric Garault

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The Ratatouille movie is just a chapter in the long history of Tour d’Argent, a legendary restaurant overlooking the Seine and Notre Dame, supposedly dating back to 1582, making it the oldest in France. It is said that here, King Henry III would have first wielded a fork, popularizing its use. However, historians raise doubts, noting that the first establishments of this kind emerged around 1760 and spread during the French Revolution; the first mention would date back to the 18th century. It would have been a humble tavern, hardly frequented by royalty.

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But the ownership insists, as BBC reports: it all adds up to 442 years of history, and that's not the only significant number. In the cellar, 300 thousand bottles rest, including a rare collection of pre-revolutionary wines, hidden from the Nazis by building a wall. Then there's the famous "canard à la presse," an iconic recipe that brings glory to the establishment. Today, it is still prepared as its creator Frédéric Delair intended in the 19th century: the bird is lifted into the air, then the carcass is pressed, and its juice is reduced with Port and Cognac. Each guest then receives a certificate with the serial number of the served duck (the million mark has long been surpassed).

la tour d argent servizio Thomas campion photographe
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So, it was rightfully called a "renaissance" when the restaurant reopened its doors after 15 months of restoration last August, in beautifully renewed forms, with a ground floor bar, luxury suites, a rooftop terrace, and an open kitchen. In 1936, it had already been renovated by André Terrail, who moved it from the ground floor to the sixth, with panoramic views. "Our goal is to expand the Tour d’Argent experience," claims André Terrail's grandson, André Terrail, the son of Claude, a failed actor and polo champion, to whom the Cognac bar is dedicated. He was the one who came up with the idea to pay for the cathedral's lighting to provide guests with a unique view, as evidenced by the bills from the 1950s.

la tour d argent sala Eric Garault Pascoandco
@Eric Garault
la tour d argent matthieusalvaing
@Matthieu Salvaing

Brad Bird, the director of Ratatouille, immortalized the restaurant before the renovations, reproducing its lights and atmospheres, cheese trolley, and uniforms in 2007. Today, the restaurant has a Michelin star but remains a must-try experience for enthusiasts hungry to delve into history: it had three macarons from 1933 to 1996, an absolute record for the red guide. But the story continues...

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