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My Paris: Interview with André Terrail of La Tour d’Argent

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Since 2003, when André Terrail took over the legendary Tour d’Argent (created in 1582) from his late father Claude Terrail, he’s made a number of additions: the brasserie, La Rôtisserie d’Argent; the bakery, Le Boulanger de la Tour; the grocery, La Petite Epicérie de la Tour; and a luxurious Tokyo outpost.
Though the restaurant is closed for big renovations until March 2nd, 2023, a number of experiences are taking place outside the centuries-old walls during “La Tour En Balade” with Executive Chef Yannick Franques: On the River Seine for a dinner cruise, in the cellars of Champagne House Maison Ruinart, at La Maison Camus at Château Lafite Rothschild, Cap Estel, and in Japan with the four-hand gastronomic event at La Tour d’Argent, Tokyo.
A graduate of Babson College, USA and INSEAD, France, André Terrail has traveled the world. But Paris, he says, is where he belongs. For BP he explains why… while also sharing some superb Paris addresses.
André Terrail’s late father Claude Terrail Where were you born?
The American Hospital, Neuilly on July 20th, 1980. My father Claude Terrail was French, my mother Tarja from Finland.
Who would you like to share an “I Love Paris” cocktail with? Ernest Hemingway. Although I’m sure there would be more than one cocktail!
A local personality past or present you admire?
General Charles de Gaulle, president of France from 1959-1969 . What he did for France, and the world, was extraordinary. “One day, aboard the steamer Caledonien sailing from the French Antilles to Tahiti, the general offered his companions a rare glimpse into his past: “When we were children,” he reminisced, “we often played war. We had a fine collection of lead soldiers. My brothers would take different countries: Xavier had Italy: Pierre, Germany. Or they would swap around. Well, I, gentlemen, always had France!”
General Charles de Gaulle Your favorite Paris quartier? The Latin Quarter, of course, where I live! It has it all: jazz clubs, unique boutiques, excellent bars and restaurants. And, I find it incorporates the perfect vibe between students (La Sorbonne), tourists (The Panthéon), locals (Jardin des Plantes) – an exciting multicultural mix.
Favorite building? Notre-Dame de Paris Favorite month?
September. The weather’s good. Everyone’s happy and tanned post holidays, new restaurants are opening, new exhibitions. It’s La Rentrée- a new beginning, and not long until Christmas!
You can’t live without?
My precious, black Mont Blanc Pen.
Notre-Dame © ArtHouse Studio at Pexels

Since 2003, when André Terrail took over the legendary Tour d’Argent (created in 1582) from his late father Claude Terrail, he’s made a number of additions: the brasserie, La Rôtisserie d’Argent; the bakery, Le Boulanger de la Tour; the grocery, La Petite Epicérie de la Tour; and a luxurious Tokyo outpost.

Though the restaurant is closed for big renovations until March 2nd, 2023, a number of experiences are taking place outside the centuries-old walls during “La Tour En Balade” with Executive Chef Yannick Franques: On the River Seine for a dinner cruise, in the cellars of Champagne House Maison Ruinart, at La Maison Camus at Château Lafite Rothschild, Cap Estel, and in Japan with the four-hand gastronomic event at La Tour d’Argent, Tokyo.

A graduate of Babson College, USA and INSEAD, France, André Terrail has traveled the world. But Paris, he says, is where he belongs. For BP he explains why… while also sharing some superb Paris addresses.

A photo of André Terrail's late father Claude Terrail

André Terrail’s late father Claude Terrail

Where were you born?

The American Hospital, Neuilly on July 20th, 1980. My father Claude Terrail was French, my mother Tarja from Finland.

Who would you like to share an “I Love Paris” cocktail with?

Ernest Hemingway. Although I’m sure there would be more than one cocktail!

A local personality past or present you admire?

General Charles de Gaulle, president of France from 1959-1969 . What he did for France, and the world, was extraordinary. “One day, aboard the steamer Caledonien sailing from the French Antilles to Tahiti, the general offered his companions a rare glimpse into his past: “When we were children,” he reminisced, “we often played war. We had a fine collection of lead soldiers. My brothers would take different countries: Xavier had Italy: Pierre, Germany. Or they would swap around. Well, I, gentlemen, always had France!”

An image of General Charles de Gaulle behind a desk

General Charles de Gaulle

Your favorite Paris quartier?

The Latin Quarter, of course, where I live! It has it all: jazz clubs, unique boutiques, excellent bars and restaurants. And, I find it incorporates the perfect vibe between students (La Sorbonne), tourists (The Panthéon), locals (Jardin des Plantes) – an exciting multicultural mix.

Favorite building?

Notre-Dame de Paris

Favorite month?

September. The weather’s good. Everyone’s happy and tanned post holidays, new restaurants are opening, new exhibitions. It’s La Rentrée- a new beginning, and not long until Christmas!

You can’t live without?

My precious, black Mont Blanc Pen.

Notre Dame on warm summer evening

Notre-Dame © ArtHouse Studio at Pexels

Favorite Paris lunch spot? 

Alliance, on rue de Poissy, the collaboration of two talented, memorable men: Toshitaka Omiya and Shawn Joyeux who bonded at Agapé, Laurent Lapaire’s remarkable restaurant in the 17th arrondissement. Sharing a passion for all things culinary, the two men decided to join forces and create their own address.

Best address for coffee/glass of wine in Paris?

I kick back at Bonvivant, Pierre Mouquet’s vibrant bistro du quartier/neighborhood wine bar. It’s always open, always welcoming, serving interesting and mostly biodynamic and natural wines. The food is an excellent value. Bonvivant is open every day and late into the night for well prepared cuisine from breakfast and lunch to cocktails and post-midnight munchies.

Where do you shop for clothes?

Le Bon Marché.

And groceries?

I absolutely adore Alessandre Pierini’s Italian deli “RAP Epicerie” (4, rue Flechier) and the incredible wine cave (with tastings) at 61, rue du Faubourg Montmartre in the 9th arrondissement. It’s the essence of oeno-gastronomy, Italian style.

The most fun thing to do in Paris?

I love running along the Quais du Seine, on the left or right bank. I’ve discovered the nearer one gets to Bercy the less people there are! With its vineyard and old railway line, the perfect place to unwind is Parc de Bercy, located along the Rive Droite in the 12th arrondissement. This development began in 1994 on the site of a former wine depot.

A photo of Alessandre Pierini’s Italian deli “RAP Epicerie

Alessandre Pierini’s Italian deli RAP Epicerie © Lisa Klein Michel

A secret “touristy” spot you admire?

Le Square Vert Galant erected in tribute to Henri IV and his numerous mistresses, the Square obtained the “Espace Vert Ecologique” (ecological green space) label in 2007. And with good reason. There’s impressive fauna and flora, considering its location in the center of the capital. You can take little boat trips or just sit and take in the wonderful views of the Seine, the Musée du Louvre and the Hôtel de la Monnaie.

The best Paris “life lesson” you’ve learned?

Be kind. I learned that from my father.

Three words to live by?

Fun – Work – Friends

If you became mayor, something you’d change in Paris?

I would create a Ministry of Tourism to promote our gastronomy, wine culture, museums, artisans, fashion etc. That’s what we really need.

Something you wish Parisians would stop moaning about?

That waiters are rude and moody – nobody’s perfect, but they do get a hard time and it’s not always justified.

One object every Parisian should own?

A Navigo pass. I don’t use it often but always keep one on me. I was at Roland Garros and it was impossible to get any sort of taxi – out came the Navigo!

Favorite Book?

Sur Les Chemin Noir/On The Black Trails by Sylvain Tesson the writer and extreme adventurer. Tesson’s inspirational walking itinerary, following a horrific accident, traces his diagonal journey, from southeast France to the northwest, from Mercantour to the Cotentin. He chose forgotten paths, “Les Chemins Noirs,” in reference to the title of René Frégni’s novel. I think it’s been made into a film, starring Jean Dujardin.

Favorite Film?

Well I think I’ve watched The Hunt for Red October about 15 times!


 

Annual Event you look forward to with impatience?

The Claude Terrail Polo Cup at The Polo de Bagatelle Paris. My father, the true meaning of a bon vivant, not only headed the Tour d’Argent, but was also a formidable polo player, captain of the famous Maillets d’Argents team. His motto was “inviting someone means to take responsibility for his happiness for all the time that he is under your roof”, although he loved to be out in the open air, playing polo. In 2004, two years before his death, he set up la Coupe Claude Terrail (Claude Terrail Cup) at the Polo de Bagatelle that my mother and I host in his memory.

Favorite place to take visitors?

Paris is blessed with the finest museums in the world. For me, it’s the Musée d’Orsay, and entry is free on the first Sunday of each month!

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