Paris is known for its culinary scene, thanks to restaurants such as Girafe, Maxim’s, Apicius, and Laurent—all of which are part of the Paris Society group.
A Parisian institution in the heart of Carré Marigny in the Triangle d’Or, Laurent is housed in what was once Louis XIV’s hunting lodge, which became a guinguette (tavern) during the French Revolution. In 1842, after German-born architect Jacques-Ignace Hittorff completed the redevelopment of the Champs-Élysées for King Louis Philippe, he turned his attention to the building, transforming it into the Café du Cirque. It was eventually sold to a Monsieur Laurent, for whom the restaurant has been named ever since.
Last September, Laurent de Gourcuff, founder of the Paris Society hospitality group, in association with celebrated chef Mathieu Pacaud and Cordélia de Castellane, artistic director of Paris Society, launched Laurent’s latest revival. It was crucial for them to not alter anything, just awaken the enchantment and restore the brilliance and radiance of a legend.
Combining high ceilings with pastel-coloured walls, curved wicker armchairs, flamboyant carpets, and shimmering chandeliers, Laurent keeps its sense of history. The grand staircase leads to the upper floor, where there is a labyrinth of small and large salons, and then up to the balconies.
Asian hangings and porcelain china adorn the restaurant, which is sheltered from the busy Champs-Elysées and an exquisite meeting place for lunch. At dinner, the lights dim and tables draw closer before the dishes arrive. Each creation is a well-executed homage to the great classics of French cuisine. Offerings might include standouts such as soft brioche with golden caviar, crudités with soufflé aïoli, confit cod with sauce vierge, pepper-crusted filet, smoked salmon in pink peppercorn aspic, blue lobster salad, langoustines with basil leaf, sole meunière with buckwheat butter, and homemade pastries. The fine wine list teems with Bordeaux wines, treasures from Burgundy, and hand-picked champagnes.