Lonely Planet Writer

Ooh la la! French workmen’s cafe awarded Michelin star by mistake

Over the weekend, the owner of a modest workmen’s café in France found herself at the centre of a story that she is sure to dine out on for a while after her humble restaurant was mistakenly awarded a Michelin star.

French cafe is mistaken for a Michelin-starred restaurant.
French cafe is mistaken for a Michelin-starred restaurant. Image by Press Association

Véronique Jacquet, who owns Bouche à Oreille in Bourges , was as surprised as anyone to have earned the fine dining honour as her café only serves a €12.50 fixed-price lunch menu, which usually includes steak and chips, beef bourguignon or homemade lasagne.

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The confusion arose because her restaurant shares its name with another establishment in Boutervilliers, near Paris, which was supposed to make it into the Michelin Guide. Both share similar addresses too: Jacquet’s café is located on Route de la Chapelle and the award-winning restaurant is found along Impasse de la Chapelle.

After a flurry of phone calls from diners hoping to book a table as well as a number of interviews with intrigued journalists, the Michelin Guide called Jacquet to apologise for their mistake. Speaking about the error to the Telegraph, Bouche à Oreille owner Véronique Jacquet said: ‘suddenly, we were rushed off our feet. Reporters were coming in and then my son phoned me from Paris, where he lives. He almost died laughing. I had regulars and friends phoning up and asking why I hadn’t told them we’d won a Michelin star.’

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Talking to French TV, one of Bouche à Oreille’s regular customers quipped: ‘this place is worth not just one but two stars.’ What’s more, Jacquet and her staff have since been invited to lunch at the award-winning Bouche à Oreille in Boutervilliers.

Bourges is famous for its Gothic Cathédrale St-Étienne , which was begun by Archbishop Henri de Sully in 1195. It is now a Unesco World Heritage Site and boasts the oldest astronomical clock in France.

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