PARIS (Reuters) - The flagship restaurant of celebrated French chef Paul Bocuse, who died nearly two years ago, has lost its coveted Michelin three-star rating for the first time in over five decades.
Bocuse combined a passion for food with a nose for self-publicity that brought him fame and fortune beyond his native France.
"Although we are upset by the inspectors' judgment, there is one thing we never want to lose, and that is the soul of Paul," the Bocuse family and his restaurant said in a statement.
L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, near Lyon in France's gastronomic southeast, was the nerve-centre of his culinary empire and originally belonged to his father.
The chef's Bocuse d'Or organisation said on Twitter it offered its "unwavering support to 'Maison Bocuse'" after the withdrawal of its third star.
L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges acquired its first Michelin star in 1961 when Bocuse was helping his father build up the business. After his father’s death he took it to the top three-star status in 1965.
The Michelin Guide has awarded the restaurant two stars in its 2020 guidebook, the Bocuse family said.
Representatives for the guide said the restaurant remained "excellent, but no longer at the level of three stars".
(Reporting by Richard Lough and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Alison Williams)