Marcel Montagnier, 55, the owner of two area French restaurants since the 1980s who had worked at the Hotel Washington, the Sans Souci and the Lion d'Or before that, died of a brain tumor Oct. 28 at his home in Bethesda.

Mr. Montagnier came to this country and the Washington area in 1968. After working at the venerable Hotel Washington in the District, and then at the Sans Souci French restaurant near the White House, he joined Lion d'Or. He worked for that restaurant from 1976 to 1980, serving as its captain.

He opened Le Vieux Logis in Bethesda in 1980 and then in 1985 purchased what became La Ferme in Chevy Chase. He and his partner, Alain Roussel, built them into exclusive French restaurants.

Le Vieux Logis was hailed in 1998 by a Washington Post critic for its "old-fashioned courtly service." The review also applauded the establishment's preparation of such dishes as Dover sole, duck breast, veal with Calvados and apples, calf's liver, wild mushroom fricassee and lobster bisque.

La Ferme has been called a "long-time neighborhood secret" and an "in-town country inn" by Post critics. Reviews have applauded that restaurant's French country-classic cuisine with a small, stable menu of superb dishes.

Mr. Montagnier was born Marcel Paul Antoine Montagnier. He began working in the restaurant trade at age 13 in his native Grenoble, France. In 1966, he went to Montreal, where he worked for the Saint Tropez restaurant, before coming to Washington.

His hobbies included skiing, bicycling, tennis and rollerblading.

Survivors include two brothers and a sister.