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An Insider’s Guide to Dining at Restaurant Paul Bocuse

At Ultimate Driving Tours, we take our lovely guests to some of the finest restaurants on the planet – but for me, there are few better dining experiences than an evening at Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Lyon.

Officially named L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, this world-famous restaurant has been a fine-dining landmark for nearly 60 years. I have been fortunate enough to have dined at L’Auberge more than a handful of times and, in this article, I’ll share my insight into this temple of gourmet French cuisine.

A couple are greeted by a bellhop who holds an ornate door open for them at Restaurant Paul Bocuse, Lyon.

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Get to know L’Auberge and Paul Bocuse

Paul Bocuse is widely considered to be the godfather of French gastronomy. The legendary chef was one of the most celebrated in France, with a trophy cabinet bursting with accolades and a permanent legacy in the culinary world.

In 1954, Paul Bocuse joined his father in the kitchen of the family restaurant, before taking over the business in 1957. The restaurant was christened L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges in 1965, after being awarded its third Michelin star. Over the next 50 years, Bocuse captivated diners with a classically French menu executed to perfection and today it remains one of Europe’s must-visit restaurants.

A hallway with photos and a doorway to a busy kitchen with chefs wearing whites and working busily.


The dishes served at L’Auberge are the epitome of gastronomy, as are their accompanying wine pairings. Opulent and unapologetically extravagant, this is far from an everyday experience – dining here is joyful and soul-nourishing.

What is Paul Bocuse most famous for?

Nicknamed the ‘pope of gastronomy’, Bocuse was famous as a pioneer of nouvelle cuisine, with less reliance on heavy sauces, and an emphasis on fresh ingredients and innovative presentations. Away from the kitchen, he also created the Bocuse d’Or, which remains the most prestigious culinary competition in the world.

An exquisite starter in an ornate bowl at Restaurant Paul Bocuse

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Who influenced Paul Bocuse?

Paul Bocuse is said to have had two main influences. He first worked under Eugénie Brazier – the ‘mother of French cooking’ – who was the first person to receive six stars in the Michelin Guide. Bocuse later worked under the ‘father of modern French cuisine’, Fernand Point in Paris.

How many Michelin stars does Paul Bocuse have?

L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges currently has two Michelin stars. The restaurant lost its third star after the passing of Paul Bocuse in 2018 at the age of 91. Today, his legacy is upheld by a very talented team and guests can expect a world-class experience that more than lives up to the restaurant’s grand reputation.

A group of guests sitting around a long dining table at Restaurant Paul Bocuse.

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What is dining at Paul Bocuse like?

Dining at Restaurant Paul Bocuse is so much more than simply going for a nice dinner. From beginning to end, the evening is an experience in which every one of your senses is saturated with the world that Bocuse built.

A decorative restaurant with wooden shutters, painted green and red with a large sign on its roof with the words Paul Bocuse

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The design of the building is truly unique – it’s almost Disney-esque in its aesthetics. Interestingly, Paul Bocuse was the inspiration for the endearing chef Auguste Gusteau in Disney’s 2007 animated movie Ratatouille – which is no surprise given the warm welcome this wonderful restaurant offers.

The magic continues as you are escorted inside by liveried bellhops, where the first thing that catches your attention – aside from the overall elegance – is the large window that offers a view of the perfectly organised kitchen, in which dozens of chefs in dazzling white uniforms perform their duties with precision.

A chef wearing traditional whites inspecting a dish in the busy professional kitchen at Paul Bocuse.

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Intense first impressions eventually make way for a relaxed evening of excessive indulgence. Today, the menu remains packed with the rich signature dishes that made Bocuse and his iconic restaurant such stars. These include lobster à la Française, whole spit-roasted pigeon, and the restaurant’s most famous dish, the pastry-crowned black truffle soup VGE (Valéry d’Estaing).

What I personally love about Restaurant Paul Bocuse

Having been fortunate enough to visit the restaurant several times with guests, dining at Restaurant Paul Bocuse is one of my favourite gastronomic experiences anywhere in the world.

It goes without saying, but eating at Paul Bocuse is beyond special – the dishes, ambiance and service all combine to create an exceptional dining experience. Each time I visit, there are two points that always stand out to me.

A group of guests watch on as a waiter explains the contents of the cheese cart at Restaurant Paul Bocuse.

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Firstly, the cheese chariot. I don’t think I’m alone in my love of cheese, so when it’s time for the cheese course, my heart sings when the restaurant’s ornate cheese chariot is wheeled into the dining room. This cart is bursting with an incredible selection of pretty much every cheese known to man, complete with a mini guillotine for slicing. As soon as I catch sight of it, I’m in heaven!

I also cherish the opportunity of being welcomed into the kitchen. The team at the restaurant are incredibly accommodating and have always been kind enough to allow our guests the opportunity to enter the kitchen, where they are swept into beautifully controlled chaos for just a moment.

A small group of guests learning in the kitchen at Restaurant Paul Bocuse.

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As you can imagine, like every aspect of this restaurant, the kitchen is a magical space and it’s not often that restaurants of this calibre open up this sacred area to accommodate the curious eyes and sticky beaks of our lovely guests. This is something that I really appreciate.

Some of my favourite Paul Bocuse quotes

Despite having visited Restaurant Paul Bocuse almost every year since 2016, I was never fortunate enough to meet the legendary chef himself. However, I have always been an admirer of his attitude towards food, work and life.

One of my favourite Paul Bocuse quotes takes a philosophical swipe at dieting culture. He said, ‘Life is too short for cuisine minceur and for diets. Dietetic meals are like an opera without the orchestra.’

Another of my favourite quotes is ‘Work as though you’ll live to be 100 and live as though tomorrow will be your last’. This is a sentiment that I embody in my daily life!

A small group of Ultimate Driving Tours guests standing happily outside the entrance to Restaurant Paul Bocuse.

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Experience Restaurant Paul Bocuse with Ultimate Driving Tours

Every year, we include a visit to Restaurant Paul Bocuse on our luxury driving tour of France – combining the height of French dining and hospitality with the exhilaration of driving stunning supercars around the nation’s finest roads.

Want to be a part of this bucket-list tour and join me at my favourite restaurant? Reach out to our friendly team today to learn more.

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