When you hear Michelin, what do you think of first? A white round man?
Recently I said to my daughter, “Well how many restaurants do you want to eat at that are Michelin stars?” Her itinerary already included lunch at the Eiffel Tower’s Le Jules Verne – a Michelin 1 star. And she said what is a Michelin star? So I told her this story:
The Michelin brothers desire was to increase our mobility; beginning in 1880’s when they began exploring the properties of natural rubber. At first it was just used for breaks on bicycles. Then in 1891 the first bicycle road race used rubber tires. From there the brother’s imagination just grew and grew. In 1911 they began making airplanes and soon thereafter, trains with rubber tires. The train tires did not last very long.
By the turn of the century, people were beginning to drive around France. To assist the driver, Michelin began making maps and to this day they are my favorite choice of road map for Europe. They come by country or very detailed by region. (The latter are great if you like to wander as I do.)
Now drivers had good tires, but they needed to know where to go and where to stay. So Michelin made guides of hotels and inns, then restaurants.
Today a chef receiving a Michelin star rating is the highest acclaim. The very best is three stars!
Years ago a friend and I planned a travel journey in southern France around star rated restaurants. Now you too can easily drive to Lyon in the center of France, using a good map, stay at a fine hotel and eat at Paul Bocuse’s restaurant. All courtesy of Michelin. What fun!
If you want to learn more about the Michelin story, there is a Michelin Museum in Clermont- Ferrand in central France. It is a great family experience.
Michelin revolutionized the tire industry in the 1940’s when they developed the radial tire. Now you know!