Its origins – finding motorists somewhere to eat, drink and spend the night, and have their car repaired – were crucial in the early days of motoring but things have changed.
Nowadays, most people using the guide are looking for somewhere excellent to eat and the star system seems to reassure them.
However, it is the system that “the house” keeps its star rating even after a change of management, staff and, crucially, the chef that infuriates me (a former Egon Ronay inspector).
I live near Roanne and have enjoyed wonderful meals at the three-Michelin-starred Troisgros restaurant.
However, when Pierre Troisgros retired, his son took over as chef and kept his father’s stars – this is crazy. Every chef should have to earn the stars anew, not inherit them.
Some top chefs are refusing their stars because of the pressure to produce excellence every time.
This leads me to the number of occasions these grand establishments are open – many of them only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday lunch. It’s not very challenging to produce excellent meals on so few occasions.
There are other ways of finding good restaurants but perhaps they lack that dubious accolade of snobbisme, as the French say.
Audrey Semple, by email
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