A four hundred year old gastronomic 'theatre' that is the Tour D'Argent of Paris

Behind each recipe is a history, not just an appealing little anecdote but a bona fide event. It is possessed of the most scenic dining in Paris; Notre Dame (whose nightly floodlights the restaurant subsidises so as not to jeopardise the effect) before you, Montmartre in the near distance and situated amongst Paris' most beautiful landmarks. At each table has sat a multitude of people so famous - and not so famous - as fill a directory of the globally prominent. It has been called variously, un vieux cabaret discret, the grand-pappy of the grand Parisian restaurants in a city housing over 12,000 dining houses whose gastronomic reputation is the world's finest, amongst other titles. But perhaps the French newspaper Le Monde put it best when it proclaimed: "There are the great restaurants and there is the Tour d'Argent. There are restaurateurs and there is Claude Terrail."

One man knows all the names and they in turn, are well-acquainted with him. "Each day and night that we are open, I make my rounds at exactly 9.15 p.m. Only at that time because then, people are settled at their tables and cannot say, 'I want that table there or that one near the window." Then I say hello to everyone in the restaurant at lunch or dinner - I make no distinction unless of course, you are a beautiful girl, then I will seat her in the middle of the restaurant so that all the people can look at her..." The eyes twinkle and the debonair Claude Terrail has added yet another notch to his belt of notorious repute.

Once labelled the 'Playboy of the Western world," when not labelling out pithy ministering with irrepressible joie de vivre and generous abandon, Claude is a pool-playing ambassador of the 'table and all its delights'. His character is larger than life, effusive and entirely charming, endearing him over the 51 years of his proprietorship to all his famous patrons. Most are close friends and he estimates that between himself and his two right hand men, they know 25,000 people around the world.



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