Pensioners lose epic battle for chic Paris restaurant

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The latest court ruling on Monday says the three French pensioners are not the owners of Fouquet's, an iconic Paris restaurant on the Champs Elysees.

1 July 2008

PARIS - A court ruled Monday that three French pensioners were not the owners of Fouquet's, an iconic Paris restaurant on the Champs Elysees, in a legal battle that has gone on for half a century.

Pierre, Michel and Lina Renault were told by a court in 2007 that they were the legal owners of the building that houses the famous restaurant and other businesses, currently valued at EUR 70 million.

But Monday's ruling overturned that decision, and now the saga is likely to continue after the pensioners said they had acquired more documents proving their ownership and that they would appeal.

The Renaults argue that the building, currently the property of the Cafe de Paris restaurant company, was left to their family following the death of the Countess Octavia de Coetlogon in 1865.

The countess, who died childless, left the property to a cousin, who in turn bequeathed it to the Renaults' grandparents.

The Cafe de Paris group has owned the building since 1930 and says the Renaults' claim is baseless.  

President Nicolas Sarkozy invited a select group of friends to celebrate his election victory at Fouquet's in 2007 and the restaurant has been a popular spot for the rich and famous for decades.

[AFP / Expatica]

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