Maxim’s is one of the capital’s most emblematic restaurants, it was and has remained the meeting place for celebrities.
An historic monument
Listed in the inventory of Historic Monuments, the Maxim’s restaurant has become over its history an emblematic place of Art Nouveau and French Gastronomy, the unmissable meeting place for many international celebrities.
The legend of Maxim’s began in 1893 when Maxime Gaillard, a waiter, opened a small bistro at 3 rue Royale.
On May 21, 1893, the day of the Prix de Diane, Irma de Montigny, a young Parisian actress, entered Maxim’s. Enthused by what she discovered, she told Maxime Gaillard: “I’m going to throw your cork”. She keeps her word and the legend takes hold…
In the heart of Paris between the Place de la Concorde and the Madeleine, stands, rue Royale, the facade of Maxim’s, symbol of Art Nouveau, completed for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.
The interior decorations are inspired by fauna, flora and feminine charm. All is grace and ripple. We find the red poppy, lily, iris and chestnut leaves, dragonflies, butterflies, insects and birds. Art Nouveau banishes all angles and straight lines in favor of curves, sensual and round shapes, which roll up, unroll and intertwine. Great artists such as Gallé, Guimard, Majorelle, Tiffany, Macintosh were the leaders of this artistic movement.
A scandal by Brigitte Bardot
In the 1950s, Maxim’s was at the pinnacle of gastronomy, crowned with 3 Michelin stars.
It becomes the essential meeting place for many celebrities. Onassis and Maria Callas, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Prince Ali Khan, filmmaker Max Ophus, Barbara Huton (heiress of the Woolworth stores) and her husband Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, Martine Carol, Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly make the famous restaurant a prestigious address. Cocteau, a regular customer of Maxim’s said: “Paris will be ruined only when Maxim’s disappears”. In the 1970s, Brigitte Bardot caused a scandal by entering the restaurant barefoot.
An Art Nouveau museum
On 3 floors, an Art Nouveau museum, now renamed “Collection 1900”, was created in the building by Pierre Cardin.
550 pieces signed by the greatest creators of Art Nouveau (Majorelle, Tiffany, Gallé, Massier, etc.) are presented in a decor reminiscent of a courtesan’s apartment. But on the puck side, the establishment is losing its luster: first removed from the Michelin guide, the restaurant fails to hire great chefs to modernize its menu.