A Brief History of MICHELIN Travel & Lifestyle
The Michelin Man is Born: At the Universal and Colonial Exhibition in Lyon in 1894, the entrance to the Michelin stand is decorated with two columns of tires piled high, prompting Édouard Michelin to remark: “Give it some arms and legs and it would look like a man!” Soon afterward, André Michelin conceives a character based on a sketch by the illustrator O’Galop.
His motto is “Nunc est Bibendum,” a Latin verse from the poet Horace which means “It’s time to drink!” A clever association between this cartoon character and the piles of tires gives rise to the creation of the Michelin Man, and the translation of the slogan becomes “Michelin tires drink obstacles!”
The first MICHELIN Red Guide is published; 35,000 copies are printed with the prophetic words of André Michelin: “This guide was born with the century, and will last as long as the century does.”
André and Edouard Michelin foresaw that for the automobile to be successful, motorists had to be able to find places to refuel, charge their batteries or change their tires wherever they traveled. The MICHELIN guide was therefore created to offer drivers all of this useful information, free of charge.
The first Michelin road map is published at 1/200,000 scale.
The MICHELIN Travel Department, “Bureau d’Itinéraires,” provides free information on the best roads to take, distances, and service stations in all countries.
Michelin publishes its first regional tourist guide (the future Green Guide), about Brittany.
The first Green Guide for a North America location, New York City, is published.
Michelin develops a computerized system that allows travelers to create road maps with detailed instructions. This system is available on the French Minitel.
The Bib Gourmand distinction is first introduced in France.
The Michelin Man celebrates his 100th Birthday. His centenary is an opportunity for the company to give him a new look: he appears slimmer and more dynamic in the company’s brand block.
The Michelin Man is chosen as the world’s best logo of the century by an international panel of professionals at the Financial Times.
Michelin Lifestyle launches to develop new product ranges both in mobility-related leisure sectors and in the Michelin Man universe. Descriptions of the establishments are added to the Red Guides.
Michelin launches a full set of digital mobility assistance services under the name ViaMichelin.com.
The Red Guide selections are first published online.
Michelin launches the first US guide, Red Guide New York City. It features 500 restaurants (39 of which are star-rated) and 50 hotels, and is a popular success: more than 100,000 copies are sold in a hundred or so countries.
Bonnes Petites Tables is introduced in France.
The 100th Edition of the Red Guide France is published.
The first iPhone app is launched.
MichelinTravel.com is given a face-lift and re-launched at the end of September 2011, to coincide with the latest release of the New York City Bib Gourmand list.
Did you know?
Michelin Travel publishes more than 22 million maps and guides annually and sells them in 70 countries worldwide:
- Maps, plans, atlases – 250 titles
- Travel guides – 380 titles
- Hotel & restaurant guides – 22 titles
At the turn of the 20th century Michelin created the MICHELIN Guide, its first travel publication in an effort to encourage motorists to travel in the recently introduced automobile. Since then, hundreds of other travel guides have been developed to cultivate and satisfy the human spirit’s pursuit of adventure.
If you are traveling around the corner or around the world, Michelin maps, guides and atlases are designed to enhance your visit and help you:
- Make your drive easier with unique formatted products for on-target navigation and route planning
- Explore the world
- Determine what to see and do during on-site visits, providing you with practical, affordable recommendations for food, lodging and sight-seeing
- Discover the history and culture of your destination
No other company in the world understands mobility the way Michelin does. Our entire mission focuses on improving mobility for customers. Whether you use our tires or our travel products, you can rest assured that Michelin helps your journey go smoothly.
Michelin is synonymous with quality across a variety of sectors including guides, professional and sports footwear, tires and safety products. But few know about the humble origins of Michelin, dating back to more than 110 years ago.
From the days of mapping war-torn France to the present, in which Michelin tread outfits both Ultra High Performance sport vehicles and Babolat tennis shoes, the company has progressed from two brothers repairing a bike to a nearly $15 billion dollar company. And though travel has changed in the last century, Michelin’s approach of offering the best tools to enhance travel has remained the same.