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History of the Tour d'Argent Restaurant

The very famous and oldest restaurant in Paris is called the Tour d'Argent and has maintained its deep and almost sacred traditions throughout the years that people can still enjoy today.

The building, nestled between the River Seine and the Bernadins Monastery was built in the renaissance style using Champagne stone and this elegant inn was opened in 1582, catering towards the aristocrats of the time, taking its name from the type of stone used.

By the 1600's the Tour d'Argent had become very popular and duels were even fought in which to get a table in order to savour the delicacies on offer and King Henri IV would order thick slices of Heron Pate to be sent to him.

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History of the Tour d'Argent Restaurant

Under the reign of King Louis XIV, the court came from the Chateau de Versailles to dine at the Tour d'Argent and the Duke of Richelieu had a very elaborate feast here, where he treated his guests to a whole ox that was prepared in around 30 different ways.  Apparently, at the end of the feat they were presented with coffee, which was something new to them!

By 1720 theatre suppers had been introduced and Philippe d'Orleans came here to dine with the most celebrated beauties of the time.

During the Second Empire, the Duke of Morny, who resided at the mansion which is now home to the Paris restaurant called Taillevent, entertained at the Tour d'Argent, while many other aristocrats also continued to wine and dine and treat their friends to excellent meals.  The story goes that on one particular day the owner at the time disguised Countess Le Hon as a pastry cook, so that she could avoid being discovered by her husband.

In the 19th century during the Third Republic, the owner, Frederic Delair became famous when he created the ritual of the "Canard au Sang", which is a complex dish of duck, known as pressed duck or bloody duck, and shortly afterwards he declared that every duck should bear its own number and this ritual is still carried on today.

After acquiring the Hotel de Hollande, Andre Terrail then purchased the Tour d'Argent from Frederic Delair in 1910, modernising the building and its façade, yet he still kept the culinary traditions and added additional recipes and a fine collection of wines held within its wine cellars, then unfortunately, the establishment had to close during the First World War.

But the Tour d'Argent did reopen in all its former glory in 1918 and the visitors book started to fill again with the signatures from famous people such as President Franklin D Roosevelt, Thomas Rockefeller, Charlie Chaplin and many, many others.

And then the 100,000 duck was sacrificed at the Tour d'Argent for its speciality dish called Canard au Sang on the 6th May 1929, but even today the numbers still keep on counting!

Later on Andre Terrail realised a long-cherished ambition in 1936, which was to add a sixth floor to this fine restaurant in Paris, so as to give the patrons the most beautiful environment plus the best possible view of the Bateau Mouches and other vessels going up and down the River Seine.

It was Claude Terrail that succeeded his father and took control of the Tour d'Argent and its destiny in 1947 and he used to say jokingly, "I've been chained to this 'Tower' since I was born", as his main dream was to be an actor rather than follow in his fathers footsteps!

And yet, the legacy of the Tour d'Argent continued and in 1953 the Petit Musee de la Table otherwise known as the Gastronomy Museum opened on the ground floor of the Tour d'Argent and is a great place to sip on a drink before being taken up to the restaurant on the sixth floor.

This fine restaurant celebrated its 400 year anniversary in 1982 with four grand receptions and to continue the tradition and expand, the Tour d'Argent Tokyo was opened in the New Otani Hotel in 1984, which we have been lucky enough to eat at twice.

Expanding still further, in 1985 a boutique that is dedicated to the Arts of the Table and Gastronomy called Les Compitoirs de la Tour d'Argent opened across the street from the restaurant.

Then in 1990, still continuing the tradition of Frederic's numbered duck it celebrated its 100th anniversary and by 2003 the Tour d'Argent celebrated its one millionth duck served.

Unfortunately, in the June of 2006 Claude Terrail passed away, but the traditions of this fabulous restaurant still live on in his son Andre Terrail, and in 2007 there was a major revamp of the kitchens to make them state of the art with cameras and screens that allow the many chefs to monitor progress of the dishes getting ready to be served on all of the different floors that the kitchens occupy.

And although time and people pass on, the table is always set at the Tour d'Argent for a wonderful gastronomic experience.


Address & Contact Details

Tour d'Argent
15-17 Quai de la Tournelle
75005
Paris
Ile de France
France

Telephone: 1 43 54 23 31


History of the Tour d'Argent



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