Anya Firestone’s job as a luxury tour guide in Paris has brought her to many rarefied corners of the city. But only recently did she do something that countless locals and visitors have done over the last 130 years: Book a reservation at Maxim’s, the storied French restaurant that opened in 1893 and has counted Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Margrethe II of Denmark, Jean Cocteau, Jane Birkin and Man Ray among its patrons.
“The place was packed,” Ms. Firestone, 35, said of the night she ate there in late November. “There was energy — the ghosts of Maxim’s are probably happy.”
Ms. Firestone, who has lived in Paris off and on since 2010, hadn’t tried to dine there sooner because the restaurant fell “off my radar,” she said, partly because she wasn’t aware if it was still functioning as a restaurant. She was not alone in that perception.
“Many people, even most, did not realize it was open as a restaurant,” said Pierre Pelegry, a director at Maxim’s who has worked there for 27 years and was hired by Pierre Cardin, the French fashion designer, after he bought the restaurant in 1981.
The focus at Maxim’s in recent years had shifted to private events, Mr. Pelegry said, and for a while it was open to diners only from Wednesdays through Saturdays. It resumed daily bookings in November, two months after the Paris Society, a French hospitality group, took over operations as part of a deal with the Cardin family. (Mr. Cardin died in 2020; his heirs have since been entangled in a battle over his estate.)