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La Tour d’Argent Reopens in Paris

by Elyse Glickman

Feb 28, 2024

© Thomas Compian

Daily

It’s entirely possible France’s most noteworthy eateries define the term “destination restaurant.” Examples of how some of the more enduring Paris restaurants have approached this is compelling. While hot spots like Le Drugstore changed with the times and tastes of clientele, others, like Café de la Paix, steadfastly stay true to the roots and recipes that have delighted guests for generations.

La Tour d'Argent

© Thomas Compian

While the most ardent foodies have opinions about which restaurants deserve to stand the test of time, La Tour d’Argent, established in 1582 in the 5th arrondissement, has gone in the direction of having it both ways. Chef Yannick Franques anchors the kitchen team in the preparation of La Tour d’Argent’s gastronomic hallmarks and modernized classic recipes, while Victor Gonzàlez, executive head sommelier, La Tour, and his team oversee the wine cellar and cocktail creations at the restaurant’s ground-level bar.

La Tour d’Argent stayed consistent in its appeal, making subtle updates in its décor and formula until 1936 when the kitchens and a dining room were added to sixth floor. In 2022, the current proprietors of the Parisian gastronomic institution decided to close its doors to undertake an ambitious refurbishment and re-working to bring together old and modern culinary and design sensibilities. Under the direction of architect Franklin Azzi, the year-long renovation transformed La Tour d’Argent into a multidimensional venue with new spaces offering different immersive dining experiences from the ground floor to the roof.

La Tour d'Argent

© Matthieu Salvaing

The gastronomic restaurant on the sixth level also offers a visual feast in the form of stunning panoramas of Paris, with panoramic views of the Seine, Notre-Dame and the Ile Saint- Louis. The redesigned main dining room retains its signature blue hues as a backdrop, but now frames a kinetic mix of elements such as textural carpeting by artist Margaux Lavevre evoking the flow of the Seine, along with glowing reflections of the ceiling. The restaurant’s iconic map of Paris, meanwhile, has been reinvented by artist Antoine Carbonne, who painted in shimmering colors to vividly interpret the restaurant’s multi-century story within Paris.

La Tour d'Argent

© Thomas Compain

Pressed duck has long been a signature in the restaurant, and its “duck theatre,” where the recipe for the famous pressed duck is prepared, has been retained but reimagined to connect tradition and modernity. To ensure relevance to today’s clients, each part of the establishment — from the 300,000-bottle wine cellar to Le Bar des Maillets to Salon Frédéric (saluting Frédéric Delair, credited for the pressed duck recipe) to the main dining room and seventh-floor rooftop terrace — has been reinvented and upgraded by Azzi and colleague André Terrail over the course of 12 months, with assists from 17 firms and hundreds of craftsmen. The results of this complex recipe are a feast for the senses with ingredients harvested from the Tour d’Argent archives spanning its 400 years of history.

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