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History of the MICHELIN Restaurant Guide

A grand tradition starting from the 1900s...

A Century Worth of Tradition...

The first Guide was created by the Michelin brothers in 1900 and 35,000 copies were printed for the World Fair in Paris. It was distributed free of charge and gave motorists convenient, reliable information. Garages, mechanics, hotels, fuel depots and more were shown with pictograms that were readily understandable, even for foreign tourists. Michelin's prophetic words in the preface were: "This guide was born with the century and will be just as long-lived".

In 1900, when the Automobile was still Young, as there were fewer than 3,000 motorists in France. Traveling was often a real expedition since distances were long and roads were poor and sometimes dangerous. Nonetheless, the Michelin brothers believed that the automobile had a future.

To support its development – and at the same time the growth of the Michelin Group – they decided to provide motorists, at no cost, with a little 400-page red guidebook containing a wealth of information, such as how to change a tyre or where to find gasoline, a place to eat or a room for the night...

Twenty years later, the guide was no longer offered free of charge. According to an anecdote, on a visit to a tyre dealer, André Michelin was outraged to see the guides being used to prop up a workbench. Because “people don’t respect anything if the don’t pay for it,” the guide was now sold for seven francs. That same year, the guide included restaurants with their own rating system. In addition, advertising was banned and for the first time there was a list of hotels in Paris. And so the adventure of the Michelin guide was launched.

Over the years, backed by a team of anonymous inspectors who travel throughout Europe, the guide has offered its readers an ever richer selection of the best hotels and restaurants in each comfort and price category. More than a century later, the Michelin guide has established itself as the global benchmark in gourmet dining, for hospitality professionals as well as for the general public.