Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Le Guide Michelin 2009

The newest, latest, much anticipated, discussed, loved, hated Guide Michelin 2009 was released in France yesterday, celebrating it's 100th year of aiding French road trippers.  The red book, an annual publication, is the oldest restaurant and hotel guide out there.  Started by Andre Michelin in 1900 and distributed for free until 1926 (they eventually started charging as 'something for free is worthless'--so French), it mirrored the growth of automobile travel and gave helpful tips on car maintenance, where to find 'gas distributors' and tire suppliers while en route.  Eventually, it started suggesting restaurants and hotels one might find along their tour that would be considered worthwhile to dine or spend the night at.  In 1926, the star system was introduced indicating a restaurant that served particularly good cooking.  By the early 30's that same system incorporated two and three star ratings which is what all of Paris, nay, France, continues to wait for each year.  

The biggest news coming out of Paris yesterday was the award of a coveted third star to Eric Frechon,  chef at Le Bristol.  This hotel and restaurant are the peak of chic for some.  It also happens to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy's favorite spot. Hmm....Of course now the debate begins--was it politically motivated?  Does it really deserve that third star making it one of 26 restaurants in the entire country with all that pressure to live up to?  Oh, talk radio in Paris must be buzzing. 

I was able to round up a list of restaurants in Paris that earned their first star this year for those of you who are heading over and might be interested in checking a few out.  I suggest them only in that they may not (but could) break one's bank in these lean times as quickly as their two and three star cousins.  I am only the provider of the information--you are left to pick your poison.   Great eating can show its pretty little head in the most unlikely places in Paris without any stars shining upon it.  You have been advised.  
 Additional Information:  Michelin rewards favored Sarkozy chef with stars (in.reuters.com)
 Photo credit:  Stephane de Sakutin@afp


Paris-Insider said...

The Michelin guide is such a great tool for travelers to Paris. The guide helps visitors decide which Paris restaurants to patronize. I love it!

Kim said...

You are right. WIth all the options, tourists can get overwhelmed when it comes to dining!