There are numerous different types of restaurants in Paris and places that you could choose to eat out at, and many of the restaurants have lots of history and nostalgia, so we thought it would be an idea to focus on one in particular, called the Tour d'Argent.
This is actually the oldest restaurant in Paris and is known throughout the world for its traditional French cuisine and was first opened as an inn back in 1582, with the idea of catering for the aristocrats of the time.
By the early 1600's it had become so popular that even duels were fought to get a table and savour the delicacies on offer! Numerous dignitaries and royalty came to eat at the Tour d'Argent including King Louis XIV and the Duke of Morny, who resided at the mansion which is now home to the haute cuisine restaurant called the Taillevent.
But it was in the 19th century that the Tour d'Argent became even more famous when the owner, Frederic Delair created the ritual of the "Canard au Sang", which is a complex dish known as pressed duck or bloody duck that uses a special solid silver press and it was shortly after devising this now famous recipe, he declared that every duck should bear a number. For instance, number 328 was served to King Edward VII in 1890.
Andre Terrail purchased the Tour d'Argent in 1910, but the tradition of the numbered duck continued and duck number 40,312 was served to King Alfonso XIII in 1914. Number 112,151 was served to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1929 and duck number 938,451 was served to President Mikhail Gorbachev in 2001.
The Tour d'Argent celebrated its one millionth duck in 2003 and even today this tradition still continues where you are presented with a card showing what number duck you had for your meal, but this is just one of the reasons why this restaurant has become such a landmark and famous throughout the world.
Now when you enter the Tour d'Argent you will immediately see displays in their small museum of items such as a menu from the maiden voyage of the Normandie through to a table set as it was in the 1800's. This is where you would usually be served aperitifs, yet the restaurant dining room is actually positioned on the sixth floor, which was added in 1936, and is accessed via a lift.
And because of its location with the fabulous views of Notre Dame Cathedral and the boats cruising the River Seine or looking at the shimmering lights of the city and the Eiffel Tower in the distance of an evening, becomes another reason why this Paris restaurant is so popular.
Obviously, because this haute cuisine restaurant plays host to celebrities, presidents, royalty, etc reservations are a must and you will need a healthy bank balance in which to thoroughly appreciate the gourmet dining experience along with their fabulous selection of fine wines, which brings us to another reason for its popularity.
Their incredible wine cellars hold around 400,000 bottles from fine vintages dating back to the 1800's, rare brandies and even more rare champagnes that date from the 1700's and the wine list itself is like reading a novel presented with its own stand! The sommeliers are very knowledgeable and can recommend wines to pair excellently with your cuisine, yet prices can become quite high, with some vintage wines costing thousands of Euros!! Yet if you are lucky enough, you may even be able to get a tour of the wine cellars before leaving, where a member of staff will escort you down underneath the restaurant and ceremoniously rings a copper bell to announce your arrival prior to entry into the cellars.
For many, to dine at this restaurant is a once in a life time experience, where you make sure you are in your best evening dress and the staff are dressed in tails. In fact, this is such a traditional restaurant that even today the menu is presented to the lady without the costs and the gentleman has the pricing listed!
But booking a table for lunch is more reasonable than going all out on an evening meal, so if you are on a budget, yet still want to splash out, then this is the option for a wonderful gastronomic experience and a terrific view you will not forget.
About the Author:
www.placesinfrance.com - Martyn Davis European Traveller, Author, Photographer and Business Development Manager, For all your French holiday needs and travel guide to Paris and France, with tourist information, landmarks and attractions - The Tour d Argent