Up until 1981, the Restaurant de La Tour Eiffel stood atop of the Eiffel Tower, having catered to famous names such as Picasso, Chaplin, and Hitler.
However, restoration efforts in 1981 called for the restaurant to be taken down, citing reasons that it was weighing down the structure. The restaurant was taken apart, piece by piece, and stored in freighters to be replaced with a smaller, lighter restaurant. It seemed that it was the end of era for the famous eatery.
It turns out that the restaurant would find a new home, not high above all of Paris, but on the streets of New Orleans. John Onorio and Daniel Bonnot, a famous French chef, got wind of the restaurant’s deconstruction, and paid 1.5 million dollars to ship the freighters containing the restaurant overseas to give the establishment a new start. Despite the rust that accumulated on the parts, and the freighters labeled in French, the restaurant was eventually rebuilt on St. Charles Avenue.
The restaurant opened to a sold-out crowd on Thanksgiving day, 1986, and while chef Bonnot certainly cooked well enough to match the restaurant’s former glory, the new Restaurant de La Tour Eiffel would be short-lived. Three years after its grand reopening, the restaurant closed down due to financial pressure.
The building, however, remained. A revolving door of would-be entrepreneurs would try opening subsequent restaurants and nightclub spots in the building, but nothing seemed to stick. Most recently the structure housed an event space and museum called the Eiffel Society which closed down in December 2020.
Know Before You Go
Right next to the New Orleans Tourism Office