France is well renowned for its fine dining. Towns and cities right across the country are each dotted with fine gourmet and high end eateries. The French take culinary arts very seriously; so much so that there are literally hundreds of Michelin star restaurants in France. February 1st is the most anticipated day of the year for chefs and culinary artists across France. This is the day each year when the Michelin star ratings are announced and has been for decades.
The term “Michelin Star” is considered a hallmark of fine dining quality. Restaurants awarded this prestigious accolade can vary greatly in terms of size, location, years in business and the type of food served. However, they all have one thing in common – an exquisite dining experience is guaranteed.
Michelin Guide 2016
This year 600 restaurants in France were classed as Michelin-starred restaurants, coming in at nine less than in 2015, with 54 new stars awarded. 92 restaurants were awarded a one-star rating, 82 restaurants were awarded a two-star rating and 26 restaurants now carry the highest three-star rating.
3 star Michelin restaurants
There were just 2 new additions to the list of 3 star Michelin restaurants – and they are both Paris restaurants – Le Cinq and Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée regained its third star having dropped in the ratings to 2 stars in 2015 after a year-long closure for renovations.
2 star Michelin restaurants
There were 10 new entries to the list of 2 star Michelin restaurants in France, including Jean-François Piège’s new restaurant Le Grand Restaurant in Paris which only opened in September 2015. Another notable addition to the list of 2 start Michelin restaurants is the Restaurant Megeve “Le 1920” at Hotel Megeve. Headed by chef Julian Gatillon, 1920 constitute their long, slow cooking times and short circuit distribution as key to their 2 Michelin star rating success.
1 star Michelin restaurants
In the one star category, 42 restaurants in France received their first Michelin stars with seven of those restaurants located in Paris – Saturne, Nakatani, Lucas Carton, Neige d’Eté, Hexagone, Pages and La Table du 11. The number of one-star restaurants in the guide dropped from 503 to 492 this year with 55 restaurants in France no longer classed as Michelin star restaurants. Notably, Le Pressoir d’Argent, the Bordeaux restaurant fronted by celebrity chef Gordan Ramsay, received its first star.
Who lost out?
Two restaurants have lost their 3 star rating, dropping to a 2 star rating in 2016 – Le Meurice in Paris and Le Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu. 6 restaurants lost their 2 star rating. Despite his Brdeaux restaurant moving up the rankings to 2 stars, celebrity chef Gordan Ramsay’s restaurant in Versailles, Gordon Ramsay au Trianon, was demoted to a 1 star restaurant. The legendary Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier has lost its Michelin star rating altogether.
So there you have it, the new, improved guide to fine dining in France. With so many movement in Michelin star ratings, you now have a plethora of new restaurants in France to sample exquisite dining.