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Restaurant that served Jean-Paul Sartre and Victor Hugo stripped of Michelin star

Its lavish dining rooms and Parisian delicacies have attracted French politicians, writers and artists for 200 years, but the gilded mirrors of Le Grand Véfour lost their lustre yesterday after the eatery was stripped of its prestigious third Michelin star. The restaurant, founded in 1785 and frequented by Victor Hugo, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, is the only three-star establishment to have been downgraded in the revered food guide's latest edition.

In the centre of the city, its windows overlooking the beautiful gardens of the Palais Royale, Le Grand Véfour has long been regarded as an institution. With chef Guy Martin's menu of classic French dishes with a modern twist, the restaurant was awarded a third Michelin star in 2000.

Diners happily paid more than €150 (£115) a head for Martin's artfully arranged signature dishes, which include foie gras ravioli, pigeon, and crème brûlée. "No stars are awarded out of kindness," said Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin Guide. "In Guy Martin's case, that doesn't mean his talent is sullied; it's simply that the consistency is no longer there."

The only eatery to be awarded a third star was a seafood restaurant, Le Petit Nice in Marseille.