French historical jewel Drouant revives its culinary past

There’s something a little different about the Parisian restaurant Drouant – while the iconic establishment has undergone a redesign, its history still lingers heavily and remarkably so. 

Restaurant Drouant Paris
Image: Matthieu Salvaing

As home to the deliberation of France’s most prestigious literary prizes, le Prix Goncourt (since 1914) and Prix Renaudot (since 1926), Drouant is recognised as a historical gem. After being founded in 1880, the place has transformed from a tobacconist bar to a bistro; before later becoming a genuine gourmet institution frequented by all the best known Parisian artists and personalities. 

Now new owners, the Gardinier brothers, are celebrating Drouant’s former glory days by upholding the establishment’s past character and its reputation of fine food. They teamed up with architect Fabrizio Casiraghi to reinterpret Drouant’s iconic Art Deco bones and bring them up to date. It was not a hasty project; the brothers spent a year understanding the historical significance and meticulously planning the relaunch to align with it.

The new reveal showcases interior decor that recalls the 1930’s while the famous staircase designed in the late 1920s by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, aka, ‘the pope of art deco,’ remains a prominent feature. As does the painted ceiling by Cocteau, the private salons and warm atmosphere that contributed to its former success. A large crystal chandelier has simply been added to accentuate its grandeur. 

The old woodwork has been restored and a travertine mosaic floor has been laid where remnants remained from a previous mosaic. In the main dining room and winter garden, the aesthetic is warm and elegant due to Walnut woodwork and thick fabrics being complemented with colours of cream, navy blue and buttercup yellow.

Restaurant Drouant Paris
Image: Matthieu Salvaing

On the mezzanine floor, guests will find a library home to original editions of all the books that have won the award since Prix Goncourt began. While the famous salons have also been kept and refreshed, ready to host the jury’s lively debates or private bookings.

The attention to detail stretches right to the door handles, which are of the same design Ruhlmann used. Even the paintings are reflective of Drouant’s literacy theme. 

Restaurant Drouant Paris
Image: Matthieu Salvaing

The menu has been revamped by new head chef Émile Cotte who is reinventing the great classics of French gastronomic cuisine. The menu is set to evolve with the seasons and pair with a selection from over 2000 wines from their cellar.

Service has been prepped and the reformed Drouant restaurant is ready to satisfy a sophisticated and expectant clientele who value literature, history and good food.

Find out more: drouant.com/en/

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