J’ACCUSE! French Restaurants Seating Customers Based on Good Looks? Sacré Bleu!Posted: November 6, 2013
Henry Samuel, from Paris, reports: Two trendy Parisian restaurants have been accused of seating guests according to how good-looking they are, to raise the tone of the establishments.
“not showing my breasts enough”
(reason one hostess was scolded)
Former hostesses have claimed that Thierry and Gilbert Costes — brothers whose group owns hotels, cinemas, restaurants and cafes in the French capital — have introduced a highly discriminatory selection procedure for guests of Le Georges, in the Pompidou Centre, and Café Marly, overlooking the Louvre.
“The good-looking ones are led to the good places, where they can be easily seen,” they told Le Canard Enchaîné, an investigative and satirical weekly. “As for the non good-looking ones, it is imperative that they be dispatched to the corners of the room.”
Failure to obey the rules was said to result in reprimands such as: “What are these ugly mugs doing at this table? Everyone can see them when they come in. It’s very bad for our image.”
The hostesses themselves were picked according to equally exacting criteria: anyone short “without a model’s physique and over 30 need not apply”. One was told off for “not showing my breasts enough”.
They said that periodically one of the bosses, Gilbert, would come in person to “harp on about the house principles of which he is very proud, as he invented them, saying: ‘There are good looking people, you put them here; there are bad looking people, you put them there! Really, it’s not that complicated.’”
The only exception to this rule, they told the weekly, was celebrity guests, who “pretty or ugly, old or young”, get to sit before the “vast panorama” of the Parisian skyline.
Telephone bookings naturally posed a problem. To get round this tricky issue, the welcome desk was asked to remain non-committal on seating arrangements, saying: “We’ll do what we can but can promise nothing.”
In the Cafe Marly, another chic eatery overlooking the Louvres museum and its pyramid owned by the Costes group, the hostesses claimed phone bookers were told balcony seats could not be guaranteed.
Depending on the physical attributes of the guest, they would then receive the go-ahead to sit “on the terrace” for all to see or not.
A member of the Georges restaurant “did not deny” the existence of such rules, according to Le Canard, merely saying: “It’s a little complicated to answer.”
A spokesman for the Costes brothers told the Telegraph: “They have no comment.”