These Are The 29 Best Restaurants In France, According To Michelin

After notable downgrades, Michelin names just one new three star spot.
Dinnerware sits on a table inside. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)
Dinnerware sits on a table inside. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

The dining scene at the top of the French food chain is shrinking.

This year there are 29 three Michelin starred restaurants in France.  Last year, there were 31. 

La Marine, a fish and seafood specialist located on Noirmoutier island off the west coast of France, was the only new fine dining spot awarded the top ranking in the publisher’s latest guide for the country. The prize was given March 6 at a live event in Strasbourg. Chef Alexandre Couillon and his wife Celine joined the elite circle by impressing Michelin inspectors with two dishes they called “monuments to modern cuisine.’’ These were braised mackerel with beetroot and parsley foam and the crispy buckwheat dessert, made with caramel mousse, candied citrus fruit and sea lettuce sorbet.

“This is incredible because we are a really small restaurant cooking out of our home using fresh local ingredients,’’ said Couillon in an interview, after the ceremony. He and his wife took over his parents fish outlet in 1999 when they were 23 years old, turning a simple restaurant serving up tourist fare in the summer months into a gourmet phenomenon open nearly year-round.  Michelin’s streamlining of the top echelons of French gastronomy was also marked by an increasing focus on regions outside of Paris. Of the 44 establishments newly awarded stars, 37 are located beyond the capital. Several of these dining spots were also recognized with awards for best sommelier and pastry chefs.

All four of the spots garnering two stars this year are located in different corners of France, including L’Auberge de Montmin, which is set in Haute-Savoie in southeastern France, and L’Amaryllis, in Burgundy. “More than ever chefs get their inspiration from the regions,’’ Gwendal Poullennec, international director of Guide Michelin said during the ceremony in the Alsatian city. This year organizers brought together three-starred chefs from across Europe for the unveiling of its latest France guide. The event marked a return-to-normal for the industry ravaged by the pandemic, when restaurants first had to close, then find ways to recruit staff during a labor crunch and now grapple with food price inflation.

La Marine served up affordable take-out dishes like fish and chips during the health crisis, using the same fresh catch from the sea and vegetables from its kitchen garden that make up his starred creations, Couillon said. He begins every day at the local fish market, choosing products for the menu offered to just 20 diners for each service. The spot also serving edible coastal plants is located at the tip of the island on a cove called L’Herbaudière.“We have made a choice to source everything fresh, nothing is frozen,’’ said Celine Couillon.  “It would be impossible to move our restaurant because it reflects the place. We couldn’t do the same thing anywhere else.’’La Marine is “worth the detour’’ — the definition of the three star ranking—because “it sweeps us away to the island of Noirmoutier and leaves us forever changed,’’ Michelin said, in a press release. 

Even before this year’s announcement of the star selection, the Michelin guide’s France rankings were making headlines. At the end of February, news broke that one of the country’s most famous chefs, Guy Savoy, was being downgraded from three stars to two. The fine dining seafood restaurant Christopher Coutanceau in La Rochelle suffered the same fate.

The guide also removed Christophe Bacquié in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur from the three-star list because it closed. A re-opening with a new chef is planned.  

This is the second year in a row Michelin has held its award ceremony outside Paris; last year chefs celebrated at an event in Cognac. Organizers had to hold the event in the morning to avoid planned transport strikes set to snarl travel across the country. 

In total, 25 restaurants lost stars. Besides the two 3-star spots that lost their top ranking, three formerly two star spots were downgraded to one star. 

Last year Plenitude, which is located in the Cheval Blanc hotel in Paris owned by the luxury giant LVMH, garnered three stars within a year of its opening, a notable feat.   

This year there are four new two-star restaurants; last year there were six. One of them, Chateau de Beaulieu-Christophe Dufosse in Busnes,  also got a prize for sustainability — a green star.

The 39 new one stars in France include La Mutinerie in Lyon, Les Cadets in Nantes, Rouge in Nimes and Rozo in Lille. Mallory Gabsi, 26, who was a semi-finalist on French TV’s , got a star for his eponymous restaurant in Paris and received the prize for best young chef.

The Michelin guide has been around since 1900; in 1926 it began awarding stars.  Since last March, it has ceased promoting restaurants in Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine. 

Following are France’s three star restaurants. An asterisk denotes the new selection.

Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, 8 arrondissementAM par Alexandre Mazzia, MarseilleArpège, Paris, 7 arrondissementAssiette Champenoise, Tinqueux, Grand EstAuberge du Vieux Puits, Fontjoncouse, OccitanieEpicure, Paris, 8 arrondissementFlocons de Sel, Megève, Haute-SavoieGeorges Blanc, Vonnas, AinKei, Paris, 1st arrondissement*La Marine, Ile de NoirmoutierL’Ambroisie, Paris, 4 arrondissementL’Oustau de Baumanière, Les Baux-de-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'AzurLa Vague d’Or — Cheval Blanc-St. Tropez, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'AzurLa Villa Madie, Cassis, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'AzurLe 1947 — Cheval Blanc, Courchevel, Auvergne-Rhône-AlpesLe Cinq, Paris, 8th arrondissementLe Clos des Sens, Annecy-le-Vieux, Auvergne-Rhône-AlpesLe Louis XV — Alain Ducasse à l’Hôtel de Paris, MonacoLe Petit Nice, MarseilleLe Pré Catelan, Paris, 16 arrondissementLes Prés d’Eugénie – Michel Guérard, Eugénie des Bains, Nouvelle AcquitaineMaison Lameloise, Chagny, Bourgogne-Franche-ComtéMirazur, Menton, Alpes-MaritimesPic, Valence, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Pierre Gagnaire, Paris, 8 arrondissementPlenitude, Cheval Blanc, 1 arrondisementRégis et Jacques Marcon, Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid, Auvergne-Rhône-AlpesRené et Maxime Meilleur, Saint Martin, Saint Martin de Belleville, Auvergne-Rhône-AlpesTroisgros — Le Bois sans Feuilles, Ouches, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

(Updates with quotes from winning chef and owner throughout)

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