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
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
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
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
15-17 Quai de la Tournelle
Ile de France
Telephone: 1 43 54 23 31