Thieves Steal $1.63 Million in Wines from Legendary Paris Restaurant La Tour d’Argent

Wine

The owners of La Tour d’Argent, the legendary Parisian restaurant and Wine Spectator Grand Award winner, filed a complaint with police last week following an inventory taken of their extensive wine collection. More than 80 bottles, worth $1.63 million (€1.5 million), are missing from the cellar, including bottles from Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. There were no signs of forced entry.

The theft came to light following an extensive renovation, when the restaurant was closed, between April 2022 and September 2023. The 83 missing wines were taken sometime between 2020 and January 2024, when the most recent audit of the cellar was conducted.

La Tour d’Argent is synonymous with French gastronomy. Located on the Seine at 15 Quai de la Tournelle, the restaurant is known for a stupendous view of the river and Notre Dame Cathedral from the sixth-floor dining room. The atmospheric wine cellar, two floors underground, houses some 300,000 bottles totaling an estimated $27 million.

The dining room at La Tour d’Argent enjoys breathtaking views of the Seine and Notre Dame, which is still under reconstruction.

La Tour d’Argent’s long history begins in 1582, when it first opened as an inn where King Henry III’s nobility could dine. The restaurant soon was among the most fashionable places to eat in Europe.

It was rebuilt after the French Revolution. During the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867, when countries showcased their finest inventions and products, Russian Czar Alexander II, the future Czar Alexander III, King Wilhelm I of Prussia and Prince Otto von Bismarck dined at the same table. In the 1930s, the building took the shape it has today, when the owners moved the kitchen and dining room upstairs to take advantage of the breathtaking views. During the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, the restaurant’s then-owner hid his most prized wines behind a fake wall.

Normally, the wine cellar is under tight security. The bottles are numbered, making resale on the open market difficult. In recent years, though, several top restaurants have been struck by knowledgeable wine thieves, who are suspected of selling to private collectors.


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