We are all aware of the Michelin Guide but did you know that the guides are published by the French tyre manufacturer, Michelin? It all began in the year 1900, when automobiles were still in their infancy, at that time there were around 3,000 cars on the roads of France, and the Michelin brothers, Eduoard and Andre, published a motorist’s guide. The brainwave was a marketing strategy designed to promote the use of motor cars at a time when they were first introduced, and the very first Michelin Guide contained information about restaurants, petrol stations and tyre replacement shops. Confident this was a winning formula, the brothers printed 35,000 copies and had them distributed across the country.
The first Michelin Guide turned out to be extremely useful for the motorist of the day, and it wasn’t only focused on tyre repair and replacement, in fact, using the guide, one could effectively plan out a route from anywhere to anywhere, and one would know where the hotels and fuelling stations are located, with essential car mechanic contact details, which proved to be invaluable.
Fuelled by the keen reception the first publication saw, the two brothers published a Michelin Guide for Belgium in 1904, and went on to introduce a guide for Tunisia and Algiers just 3 years later. Over the next 4 years, the brothers covered most of northern Europe, with the British Isles included – with an English language edition in 1909 – in the long list of countries. If you happen to reside in Berkshire, and are looking for Michelin star restaurants in Reading, there is one such establishment that is noted for culinary excellence, and with a superb dining ambience, it really is a must. You can book from their website and enjoy a refreshingly delightful experience, and this will help you to understand how particular the Michelin Guide is about who gets a mention.
World War One
The onset of WWI suspended any publications, as the conflict changed the way people lived, and the war effort took up all the available resources, and even then, the copies of the Michelin Guide were still in use, and being passed from motorist to motorist, yet what started out as a marketing gimmick, had soon become the main focus of the brothers Michelin.
The story goes that in 1920, Andre Michelin was out and about talking to tyre distributors, when he noticed one of his guides was being used to prop up one corner of a bench, and from that moment on, the brothers decided to charge a fee for the guides. The cost was just over U$2 per copy and because the Michelin Guide was no longer free, the brothers decided to revamp the content by categorising restaurants and hotels and they also removed the advertising.
The Michelin Guides today are world renowned and cover just about everywhere, and should you ever be on holiday and would like to sample some of the best local cuisine, the Michelin Guide is for you.