A chic bar, called Les Maillets d’Argent, on the ground floor, a green roof ideal for enjoying a glass of champagne, an exceptional 150 square meter apartment perched on the fifth floor with a view of all of Paris – to rent for 8,900 euros per night… Historic address of the famous restaurant La Tour d’Argent, which discreetly reopened on August 11 after fifteen months of work, 15, quai de la Tournelle (Ve) is in full diversification. So decided André Terrail, owner of the establishment that his grandfather bought in 1911. Also owner of the building, this elegant forty-year-old prefers to speak of “an extension of our main profession, namely the art of hosting “.
Fans of blood duck, a specialty of the house whose recipe was codified here in 1890 by Frédéric Delair, can rest assured: the famous palmipedus which made the restaurant’s reputation is still on the menu. And the certificate bearing the number of the bird tasted (each has been numbered since 1890), always ritually assigned to each customer. One of the cards issued at the end of August bore the number 1177806.
A lunch package for 150 euros
As for the unforgettable view of the apse of Notre-Dame, the Seine and the Île Saint-Louis enjoyed by the guests of the restaurant installed on the sixth floor since 1936, it is even more grandiose! The framing of the bay windows has been so refined that this 400 square meter space, which can accommodate 55 people, is even brighter.
Led by chef Yannick Franques, the brigade of around thirty cooks now operates in the open since the kitchen is open to the room. Notice to fans: the four-course lunch package is priced at 150 euros.
Change everything so that nothing changes? At the head of the Tour d’Argent since the death of his father Claude Terrail in 2006, André Terrail has never claimed to make a clean sweep of the past. “Through this work, for which I have entrusted responsibility to the architect Franklin Azzi, we are consolidating our heritage to fully enter the 21st century,” he assures. While remaining discreet about the bill for a construction site which includes the renovation of the facade. “Several million euros,” he concedes.
Win new stars in the Michelin guide
Were these major works launched to find the lost stars of a house which had three in 1933 and which, since 2006, has only had one star in the Michelin guide? “The objective is to convince our customers who are the only judges. And of course, to reconquer the stars that are part of our journey,” answers André Terrail.
While awaiting the verdict of the inspectors of the famous red guide, the opinions collected from customers this Wednesday afternoon, at the exit of the establishment, are unanimously enthusiastic. Two men in suits and ties, seated in the ground floor room reserved for business lunches, leave the premises, visibly very satisfied. “The menu is short, efficient and the staff takes great care of its customers. We had a duck leg, because it is the house specialty. The poultry was cooked perfectly and the sauce was well seasoned. We leave the table with a not too heavy stomach. And the price-quality ratio is correct compared to the location and the quality of the food,” confides one of the two guests.
Customers who have lunched in the gourmet restaurant overlooking the Seine and Notre-Dame also praise the place. Florence Berthout, mayor (Horizons) of the Fifth, met as she was leaving a business lunch where, she insisted, she was invited, was full of praise. “This emblematic restaurant is part of Paris’ heritage and offers the most beautiful view of the capital. This table is also among the best in the city. »
“A true symphony of flavors”
Following him, a couple heads towards the exit, smiles on their faces. “I came a long time ago. The experience is crazy,” says the man, laconic, as he quickly rushes into his sedan. A little later, three men come out in turn. “I live right next door and this is the first time I’ve come. If I had to give a rating, I would give the establishment 9.5/10 for the welcome, the cuisine, the impeccable service with an impressive number of servers and its incredible view of all of Paris from its new roof too,” says Philippe, an antiques dealer expert in Far Eastern art.
“And the score remains reasonable in these times when everything is increasing. 150 euros for a five-course menu with appetizers, zander quenelles accompanied by a nice sauce as a starter, followed by a red mullet with vegetables then a duck fillet and to finish a delicious dessert. All accompanied by wines judiciously recommended by the sommelier. It was a true symphony of flavors,” says Jacques, a Cannes resident passing through Paris.
The autographs on display in the gallery leading to the sixth floor attest to this: the Silver Tower has always been very popular with film stars (Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot, Brad Pitt, etc.) and politicians (from Simone Veil to Bill Clinton, via Jean-Louis Borloo).
A clientele made up “half of tourists and half of French”
“It’s also a restaurant where Parisians and French people in general come with their families to celebrate a wedding anniversary, a baptism…” observes the owner, who specifies that “the clientele is made up half of tourists and half of them. half French.
An address that is also passed down from generation to generation. Coming to lunch with his sister and daughter, Charles Zven – who, at 92, claims to have “known Claude Terrail” – testifies: “I want to please my daughter who is coming here for the first time. » The person added: “La Tour d’Argent is timeless gastronomy. A unique moment of sharing at the table that I will remember for life. »
At the head of a group which employs 150 people (including 70 in the gourmet restaurant) for a turnover of 14 million euros, André Terrail did not wait until 2023 to diversify his business. After the opening in November 2016 of the Tour bakery, located just opposite, in November 2020, he created a delicatessen at 13, quai de la Tournelle. It is true that his father Claude had bought, in 1989, the restaurant La Rôtisserie, at 19, quai de la Tournelle.