Maxim’s in Paris: A Stylish Transformation Blending Heritage and Tomorrow’s Flair
For over 130 years, Maxim’s in Paris has welcomed a diverse array of luminaries, from Proust to Piaf, Cocteau to Callas, Delon, Gainsbourg, and Birkin. The iconic restaurant near the Place de la Concorde has recently transformed. Established in 1893 and renovated for the 1900 World Fair, its historic interiors boast an art nouveau ambiance with red velvet banquettes, mahogany panels, stained-glass windows, floral motifs, and murals. While Maxim’s celebrity hotspot status had waned, the recent makeover has revived its allure, making dinner at Maxim’s a trendy and appealing choice.
At artnouveau.club we used to organize art nouveau private tours in Maxim’s, organizing 60-minutes visits to its museum for international tourists, but this has finished as the new management has closed its museum. Currently, only the restaurant is operational, and with recent management changes, there is uncertainty about the continued availability of reservations for dinner.
Having reigned as the epitome of culinary excellence for decades, Paris restaurant Maxim’s is poised to reclaim its status as the world’s foremost gastronomic haven, unveiling refreshed art nouveau interiors to captivate patrons once more.
Founded in May 1893, Maxim’s on Rue Royale in Paris has etched its illustrious history as a bistro started by former waiter Maxime Gaillard. Evolving, the Belle Époque interiors emerged by 1899, characterized by a blend of nature and the sensuality of women, making Maxim’s truly unique, as described by artistic director Pierre Pelegry. Under subsequent owner Eugène Cornuché, the venue embraced art nouveau style, earning its status as a Parisian hotspot. Designated a historic monument in 1981, Maxim’s continued to thrive, hosting luminaries like Josephine Baker and Jean Cocteau. Octave Vaudable’s ownership in the 1930s attracted a glamorous clientele, including Maria Callas, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Barbara Hutton. With a history rich in aristocracy and later frequented by cinema stars and artists, Maxim’s remains an elegant establishment, enforcing a formal dress code to this day.
In the 1950s, under Vaudable family ownership, Maxim’s underwent renovations and embarked on global expansion. A collaboration with fashion designer Pierre Cardin in the 1970s marked a dynamic era, leading to the restaurant’s attainment of three Michelin stars. Opting out of the rating system later, Cardin took full ownership in the early 1980s, initiating a grand vision that extended from China to New York. The iconic red facade and stained-glass windows maintained Maxim’s classic and chic allure, with Cardin establishing a Maxim’s boutique and Maxim’s Minim’s for gourmet snacks. Despite its enduring presence, Maxim’s faced a decline in the late 20th century. Guided by Pierre Pelegry, efforts to rejuvenate the venue targeted a younger clientele, emphasizing a vibrant atmosphere. With Cardin’s ethos of celebration and fun, Maxim’s hosted diverse events, from private dinners for artists like Sophie Calle and Cy Twombly to lively dance nights. As a timeless restaurant offering classic French fare, Maxim’s retained its allure, drawing patrons for dishes like frog’s legs, cheese soufflé, lobster, and traditional French desserts such as crepes suzette.
Following Pierre Cardin’s passing in 2020, the establishment transitioned to his family. Pierre Pelegry remains part of the team, while operations are now overseen by the prominent French hospitality entity, Paris Society, led by Laurent de Gourcuff. Established in 2008, Paris Society boasts a portfolio of 50 venues, aiming to redefine the art of entertainment with celebration, generosity, and audacity, spanning restaurants, clubs, events, and hotels.
Recognizing Maxim’s as an ideal addition to their collection, de Gourcuff praises its status as one of the strongest restaurant brands globally. Emphasizing the untouched, magical, and timeless decor, he expresses his penchant for historic properties with unique settings, like Coco in the Opéra Garnier, Girafe at the Trocadero overlooking the Eiffel Tower, and the ancient Abbaye des Vaux-de-Cernay. For de Gourcuff, Maxim’s is the crowning jewel that perfectly complements their prestigious portfolio.
De Gourcuff lauds Maxim’s as a “magical, timeless, and elegant” institution with unparalleled charm and soul. Rooted in its legendary address and rich history, Maxim’s, now under the ownership of Paris Society (Accor Group), embarks on a new chapter, aiming to recapture the allure of the Roaring Twenties. The iconic venue, synonymous with festivities and extravagance, remains true to its original decor, refreshed by French designer Cordelia de Castellane, incorporating art deco pieces from Pierre Cardin’s collection.
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