Please Be Seated

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If we filed last Friday’s Paris-tidbit under “Weird Things I Never Knew,” then this week’s should be filed under, “Things I Kind of Suspected”: Georges restaurant in the Centre Pompidou (the ugliest building in the universe) has been accused of seating more attractive people at the front of the room, and hiding more, um, unattractive diners in the back. The restaurant has an open layout, and is visible to museum patrons. A former hostess has spilled the beans of the owners’ preferred seating arrangements in the French paper Le Canard Enchainé this week (which, it should be noted, is a satirical publication; however, when asked about the allegations, the restaurant would neither “confirm or deny” the rumors).

“‘There are beautiful people, you put them here. There are not-beautiful people, you put them there – it’s really not that complicated,'” the former hostess quoted [owner Gilbert Costes] as saying.

But what about prospective diners who made phone reservations? Fear not, the owners had a plan for that, too!

The staff were taught to look for certain “linguistic clues” which might give away whether the voice on the other end of the phone belonged to one of the “beautiful people” or not. According to the former worker, the staff would usually tell callers they would “do their best” to find them a table, then decide if they were “fully-booked” or not, after taking a look at the would-be diners when they arrived.

This is the most absurd thing I’ve read in a while. Though again, I sort of suspected this might be in practice in certain places, especially in Paris, where there is no shortage of outside dining and the tables always seem to be filled with pretty people. I’m tempted, on my next trip back (WHEN WILL THAT BE?) to test this theory and ask for a table for two. Though maybe I don’t want to know.

Thanks to Audrey for sending this story to me!

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November 8, 2013 / eat / drink / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 7

7 comments

  • You would be seated front and center. Shame we wouldn’t be dining together. Now I’m thinking back about where we got seated when I took you to see if I should be humiliated or happy.

  • oh this doesn’t really surprise me at all and is probably where my aversion to upper-crust stems from in general (not to be confused with loving fine things.). you just don’t know what things are being based on when you are in those environments but it often is and feels like it’s, money and good looks. which really have no value other than to the people that have them. neither should matter to anyone else. what does surprise me is that building. what is up with that? the pictures are confusing. is that all one building? parts of it really look like one of the hydrotube water park places.

    have a good weekend. xoxo!

  • Hope you had a better day today! Just picture yourself sitting up front surrounded by only beautiful faces and eating cheese and bread and drinking wine! :-) best day ever? maybe.

  • “Linguistic Cues” for the ugly?! Shaking my head…(but shamed to say chuckling too!)
    I don’t think I’d want to know…

  • I TOTALLY suspect this of London, too! I always wondered why some people were put in the windows, while others (coughme) were shuffled to the back, near the loos. BWA! CONFIRMED.

  • I think I was here – I just need to check back on some photos and make sure it is the same place. If it is, I’m feeling pretty smug right now because we were seated out front… but I better check first before I gloat. Either way, this is hilarious!

  • Doesn’t surprise me at all that the Parisiens do this, they are so concerned about appearance.
    But that’s vile isn’t it? I would definitely be in the back for being the wrong age I’m sure!
    Also, love the Pompidou, a great piece of social architecture. A building for the people xx