News & Views 2 minutes 11 October 2023

The Reopening of One MICHELIN Star Tour d’Argent

A Parisian institution on their present and future.

French One MICHELIN Star Paris Editor's Pick

On October 5, 2023, the 1,178,727th duck was served at the Tour d’Argent. It’s a Challans duck which, like all the others since 1890, comes from the Burgaud family. Loyalty is a key word in this House. We are of course perpetuating the legacy of Frédéric Delair, maître d'hôtel who became owner of the Tour d'Argent, who made pressed duck the restaurant's specialty. He refined the serving, cutting the duck with the end of a fork, without it touching the dish. He had the brilliant idea of numbering the ducks served, a tradition kept to this day by the Terrail family, who bought the restaurant in 1911. They are also faithful to historical recipes, such as the foie gras of the three emperors, first served in 1867, during the Universal Exhibition in Paris, to three emperors: William I of Prussia, Tsar Alexander II and his future son Alexander III, as well as Chancellor Bismarck.


Photo credit: Matthieu Salvaing
Photo credit: Matthieu Salvaing

The change in tradition:

Chef Yannick Franques, who has been in the kitchen at Tour d’Argent for four years, keeps his hand in control and is not content with perpetuating history, but rather intends to place this old House in the present: “The recipe for the pressed duck has remained intact. The duck is cut on the fly, with very precise movements, at the table, by the maître d'hôtel, then presented in two courses: the supreme with blood sauce, served on a plate specially made by ceramist Sylvie Coquet. Then during the second course, we taste the confit leg, on a small skewer, with a piece of duck pudding. Today I use, as best I can, all parts of the duck, to respond to current concerns about limiting waste. I also twisted certain dishes, like the pike quenelle, which I also prepare with pike perch. I'm working on lightening some sauces. I created new dishes like the egg mystery and plantain gyoza. We studied the House archives a lot and took out recipes from the boxes, such as the lobster of the three maharajahs. I work with products that we didn't use before like yuzu, or certain spices, which I find at Ankhor, which sources its products in France. I also wanted to rethink the front plate, by offering, on the Christofle silver presentation plate, a Parisian parfait on a zabaglione background which changes every season. 

Photo credit: La Tour d’Argent
Photo credit: La Tour d’Argent

Looking to the future:

This legendary address opens onto the future like the bay windows overlooking the Seine and Notre-Dame Cathedral, or rather the iconic structure’s colossal reconstruction project. “Contrary to what we thought, the work on the cathedral does not put off our customers, it even constitutes an entertainment. At night, the site is entirely illuminated,” explains André Terrail III, president of the establishment, since the death of his father Claude in 2006. After 18 months of work, the Tour d'Argent opens its doors. “The 6th and 7th have been completely rebuilt,” explains Virginie Guyonnet, communications director for the Tour d’Argent group. The renovation, including the facelift of the gourmet restaurant room, was entrusted to architect Franklin Azzi. The kitchen has expanded and now opens onto the room, offering customers an impressive ballet of toques, completing the show on the platform, where the livers are crushed and mixed with Madeira and Cognac, then the carcass is put in a majestic silver press. Three new spaces have been created, from the ground floor to the roof of the building: the Bar des Maillets d'Argent, open from breakfast, the Toit de la Tour, on the 7th floor, for a drink at the top of the Tower, and the Apartment, the former home of the Terrail family, today open for an exceptional stay.

Photo credit: Matthieu Salvaing
Photo credit: Matthieu Salvaing

The experience at the heart of La Tour:

“All the developments made over the past 10 years at the Tour d’Argent are at the service of the table, of the gastronomic experience offered to our customers. So Le Boulanger de la Tour, our bakery, works above all for the restaurant. Kévin Derpierre, our baker, offers a specific bread with each dish. At L’Épicerie de la Tour, we find products from our suppliers. On the ground floor, the Bar des Maillets d'Argent opens at 9 a.m. (to midnight) and extends the gastronomic experience with a cocktail or digestive. We are also working on a cigar offering on the terrace,” explains Terrail. “The cellar, today managed by Victor Gonzales who succeeds David Ridgway, still has nearly 300,000 bottles. This exceptional choice of wines is obviously also part of what customers come for at the Tour d’Argent,” adds Terrail. And while their name might translate to silver, it’s a gold medal finish for La Tour d’Argent and their team continuing to bring excellence to France’s gastronomic scene.

Photo credit: Matthieu Salvaing
Photo credit: Matthieu Salvaing

Illustrative photo: Matthieu Salvaing


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