2021: What’s So Special About 3 Star Michelin Restaurants In Paris?

Here’s why Michelin star restaurants are such a big deal for restaurants & chefs and a list of the 2021 3 star Michelin restaurants in Paris.

By Annie André ⦿ updated January 10, 2024  
What makes 3 star Michelin restaurants in Paris so special?
What makes 3 star Michelin restaurants in Paris so special?

If you’re a foodie with a passion for haute cuisine and plenty of cash, it makes sense to plan your travels around restaurants that have earned the coveted Michelin star status. Here’s a quick look at 2021’s 3 star Michelin restaurants in Paris, where a typical meal can cost you as much as 400 Euros per person. 

“Is it worth it?

Is it on your bucket list?”

I’ve been to several Michelin one and two-star restaurants (by accident) but never a 3 star Michelin restaurant.

Except for that one-time ages ago when I ate at “The French Laundry” in Yountville, California, which had 3 Michelin stars. The memory of that exquisite meal still haunts me today (in a good way).

How many Michelin star restaurants are there in France?

Out of the hundreds of thousands of restaurants that exist worldwide, only a few thousand restaurants have earned one, two or three Michelin stars but France, a country known for its culinary prowess, holds the record with the most Michelin star restaurants.

The exact number of Michelin star restaurants changes each year because Michelin stars are not permanent. They can be given one year and taken away the next and then earned back again or never earned back.

Restaurants worldwide with 3 Michelin stars

In 2021, there were 638 Michelin star restaurants in France. 30 of them earned three stars and of those 30, ten are located in Paris. 

Here are the number of 3 star Michelin restaurants by country;

  1. France & Monaco 30
  2. Japan 22
  3. The United States 13
  4. Italy 11
  5. Spain 11
  6. Germany 10
  7. Hong Kong and Macau 10
  8. The United Kingdom 7
  9. Switzerland 3
  10. China 3
  11. Singapore 3
  12. Netherlands 2
  13. South Korea 2
  14. Belgium 2
  15. Denmark 2
  16. Austria 1
  17. Sweden 1
  18. Taiwan 1

What is a Michelin star restaurant, and what makes it so special?

Let’s dive into what it means to be a Michelin 3 star restaurant.

For more than a century, Michelin, the French tire company, has been publishing a series of city guides called the Michelin Guide, also known as the Michelin Red Guide. It’s the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide in the world.

These days there’s a Michelin guide for most cities, and one of the most noteworthy is the Paris Michelin guide.

Michelin guide edition 1900 France

There’s usually a lot of fanfare and a media frenzy leading up to the release of the new Michelin Guide (published in January), which announces that year’s Michelin star winners and losers. Newspapers, journalists and other media outlets speculate which restaurants will win or lose a star.

The announcements have been compared to winning an academy award or Nobel peace price by some chefs, but I think it’s more like winning an Olympic medal of the fine dining and culinary industry.

  • One star being the bronze medal.
  • Two stars, the silver medal and
  • three stars the Gold medal.

And of course, along with the prestige, exposure and honour of winning a Michelin star, many restaurants receive an increase in business and their chefs are elevated to “chef royalty status.”

Michelin star chef winners France 2019

Michelin stars are tough to earn: only the best restaurants are awarded stars.

Restaurants that earn stars for that year’s guide are put into the Michelin guide book for their city. The vast majority of restaurants receive no stars and are simply excluded from the guide.


Winning a Michelin star is very prestigious, but there is a tremendous amount of pressure.

In 2003, French chef Bernard Loiseau committed suicide by shooting himself when newspaper reports hinted that his restaurant might lose its 3-star status.

Gordon Ramsey cried when his two-star restaurant in New York lost both of its Michelin stars.

Sébastien Bras of Le Suquet à Laguiole wanted to give up his Michelin stars stating that he was over the pressure and expectations that came along with the three stars.

Marc Veyrat of La Maison des Bois asked to be removed from the guide when his restaurant was demoted from a 3 star to a 2-star rating.



What do Michelin stars mean – according to the Michelin guide?

number of Michelin star restaurants data is for 2019

  • ONE Michelin star restaurant: “High-quality cooking, worth a stop.” 492 in France  & 113 in Paris.
  • TWO Michelin star restaurants: “Excellent cooking, worth a detour.” 81 in France & 15 in Paris.
  • THREE Michelin star restaurants: “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey” (the highest honour a restaurant can receive from Michelin)132 in the world- 27 in France & 9 in Paris.

The meaning of the Michelin star ratings infographic and criteria

How do restaurants earn a Michelin star?

Keep in mind, restaurants, not chefs earn stars. That doesn’t change the fact that having a great chef with excellent skills plays a huge factor in a restaurant’s ability to earn a Michelin star; however, it’s not the only criteria: that’s why restaurants keep their stars even after a chef leaves.

Unlike TripAdvisor and many other popular restaurant rating sites, which rely on user-generated ratings, Michelin rates restaurants based on the reviews of professionally trained and anonymous Michelin reviewers (called “inspectors”) who visit restaurants around the globe.

Michelin Inspectors are prohibited from speaking to journalists and are encouraged to keep their line of work secret while visiting restaurants in order not to get special treatment.

The Michelin guide inspectors rates restaurants based upon five criteria which have remained unchanged

  1. Quality of the ingredients used
  2. Mastery of flavour and cooking techniques
  3. The personality of the chef represented in the dining experience
  4. Value for money
  5. Consistency between inspector visits.

    Restaurant inspectors don’t look at table settings, interior decor or service quality when awarding stars – this is indicated instead by the number of “covers” it receives, represented by the fork and spoon symbol in the Michelin guidebooks.

How much does it cost to eat at a Michelin 3 star restaurant in Paris?

While some restaurant patrons seek out more affordable culinary experiences, others are willing to pay extraordinary amounts of money to dine at a Michelin 3 star restaurant for an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime dining experience.

pierre Gagnaire dish

The cost of your meal depends mainly on the Michelin restaurant you choose.

Prices can range anywhere from 100 to 415 Euros (111 -464 USD) or more per person. That’s before wine, beverages, tax and tip. So a typical romantic dinner for two with a mid-range bottle of wine might set you back between 300 to 1,000 USD.

For that price, you’ll receive exceptional service, waiters and food with perfect execution, high-end, fresh ingredients in lavish, plush surroundings and a sumptuous multi-course meal that often looks like a work of art.

Pre Catelan restaurant Paris Michelin 3-star restaurant

Why you should order the multi-course tasting menu

One of the best ways to experience a meal at a Michelin 3-star restaurant is to order the tasting menu (menu dégustation).

A multi-course tasting menu is a collection of several dishes in small portions, served by a restaurant as a single meal. Think of it as the tapas of fine dining, except the dishes come in a procession of multiple courses rather than all at once.

Often but not always, you can order a lunch tasting menu. Not only will it give you a sampling of many signature dishes and seasonal ingredients for that restaurant, but can sometimes cost you less than ordering à la carte. I say sometimes because it’s not always the case, and some Micheline 3 star restaurants don’t offer a tasting menu.

Below is a video of the 450 dollars 10-course tasting menu at EPICURE in Paris. 

If the video does not display correctly, click here.

Making a reservation at a 3-star Michelin restaurant

If you’re travelling to Paris in hopes of dining at a 3-star Michelin restaurant, keep in mind some restaurants are booked months in advance.

It might be better to make your restaurant reservation first, then book your plane tickets and travel around the reservation. Or, you could enlist the help of a travel concierge, which can often help secure exclusive reservations for you.

Epicure | 3 Michelin Star Restaurant Paris

2021 List Of Three Star Michelin Restaurants In Paris

Here are the 3 star Michelin restaurants in Paris and their famous chefs along with the date they originally earned their 3 star status. 

I've also included the restaurants that have lost stars at the bottom of the list. 

since 2021


Kei Kobayashi micheline star restaurant paris

New kid on the blog, Kei Kobayashi’s, was born in Nagano Japan and discovered French gastronomy on TV. As soon as he was old enough, he travelled to France to train in some of the country’s best restaurants. He offers cuisine that reflects French fine dining with his Japanese upbringing. 

  • From €78 to €320
  • Chef: Kei Kobayashi
5 rue du Coq-Héron, Paris, 75001, France

Paris 1 Arrondissement

since 1988


Bernard Pacaurd L-Ambroise Micheline star restaurant-Paris.jpg

L’Ambroisie which means "food of the gods" is run by chef Pacaud who has held on to his Michelin rating since 1988, longer than any other three-star restaurant in Paris. You can expect to find pure, high end French cooking. 

Some pretty important people have dined here including presidents Barack Obama and Francois Hollande back in 2015. 

  • From €210 to €390
  • Chef: Bernard Pacaud

Paris 4 Arrondissement

since 1996


Chef Alain Passard at Arpège, a 3 star Michelin restaurant in Paris

Arpège has maintained all three of its Michelin stars since 1996 thanks to .Chef Alain who was voted top chef of 2017 in a list that ranks the best 100 chefs around the world. In 2001, Passard removed red meat from his menu and now creates astonishing vegetable-inspired dishes from organic produce grown in his three vegetable gardens. As a result, he is affectionately known as “France’s gastronomic wizard of vegetables”.

  • From €175 to €327
  • Chef: Alain Passard

Paris 7 Arrondissement

since 1998

Pierre Gagnaire at Hotel Balzac

Pierre Gagnaire 3 Michelin star restaurant Paris

Pierre is a chef at the forefront of the modern French fusion cuisine movement whose mission statement is to run a restaurant which "turns towards tomorrow but is respectful of yesterday" ("tourné vers demain mais soucieux d'hier").

  • From €90 to €400
  • Chef: Pierre Gagnaire 

Paris 8 Arrondissement

since 2002

Restaurant Guy Savoy at Hôtel de la Monnaie

Restaurant Guy Savoy: Michelin 3 star restaurant in Paris

Guy Savoy is practically a French institution. His restaurant often makes the list of most expensive restaurants in the world. He’s also the mentor of superstar Gordon Ramsay whose own restaurants have earned a few stars. 

  • From €234 to €415 (12-course meal)
  • Chef: Guy Savoy

Paris 6e

since 2007

Le Pré Catelan

Chef Frédéric Anton Le Pré Catelan 3 Michelin star restaurant in Paris

Le Pré Catelan is situated in the Bois de Boulogne, a suburb to the southwest of Paris in a Napoléon III pavillion and Belle Époque style dining room. Since 2010, Chef Anton has also been a judge on the French version of MasterChef. 

  • From €140 to €310
  • Chef: Frédéric Anton 

Paris 16 Arrondissement

since 2009

Epicure at Hotel Le Bristol

Chef Éric Fréchon Epicure restaurant Michelin 3 star Paris

In addition to being chef royalty, Fréchon was also decorated Knight of the Order of the “Légion d’Honneur” by ex French President Nicolas Sarkozy. At Epicure, Fréchon serves up classic French bistro cuisine in a down to earth comfortable setting. 

  • From €145 to €340
  • Chef: Éric Fréchon 

Paris 8 Arrondissement

since 2015

Alléno Paris at Pavillon Ledoyen

Yanick Alleno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen 3 star Michelin restaurant Paris.jpg

Alléno Paris is one of the oldest and most prestigious restaurants in Paris. Situated in an elegant pavilion in the Champs-Élysées  gardens. Chef Yannick Alléno became the chef here in 2014 and introduced boundary-pushing modern French cuisine, earning its 3 stars one year later. 

  • From €145 to €380
  • Chef: Yannick Alléno 

Paris 8 Arrondissement

since 2016

Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hotel George V

Christian Le Squer, le cinq 3 Michelin star restaurant Paris

Le Cinq is part of the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. Christian Le Squer, formerly of the 3-star Michelin restaurant Ledoyen became head chef at Le Cinq in 2014  and was named chef of the year in 2016.

  • From €145 to €360
  • Chef: Christian Le Squer 

Paris 8 Arrondissement

NO Longer 3 Star Michelin Restaurants

Star 2019

L' Astrance (Lost one star in 2019)


Despite dropping from 3 to 2 stars in 2019 after holding 3 Michelin stars for 11 years, it's still tough to get a reservation at L'Astrance. Chef Barbot describes his cuisine as a marriage between the flavors and techniques he finds abroad and classic French cuisine.

  • From €95 to €250
  • Chef: Pascal Barbot 

Paris 16 Arrondissement

since 2016

Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (CLOSED june 2021)

Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée: 3 star Michelin restaurant in Paris France

Alain Ducasse  currently holds the most Michelin stars in the world.

Alain who was with Plaza Athénée for over 21 years (since 2000) announced in May of 2021 that his partnership with the Plaza Athénée was over and the restaurant closed in June of 2021. 

In 2014, Alain Ducasse completely reinvented his Paris restaurant. His new approach focused on lighter vegetarian dishes such as fish, cereals and organic produce grown in his three vegetable gardens! No meat and no butter. His ingredients were mostly sustainable, healthy, and wild with mostly organic ingredients. 

  • From €210 to €395
  • Chef: Romain Meder 
25 AVENUE MONTAIGNE, 75008 Paris

Paris 8 Arrondissement


Michelin 3 star restaurants in Paris: what makes them so special

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a 'petite commission' at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my links. It helps me buy more wine and cheese. Please read my disclosure for more info.

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Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.


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