Renée’s Birthday at the Eiffel Tower …

(A forenote: as you will see the photos are a bit unfocused. E’s excuse is that his mechanical deftness only extends to finding parking spots in Manhattan.)

It was a cold wind swept night as we emerged out of the taxi at the Eiffel Tower.

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We were going to Le Jules Verne, a starred Michelin restaurant that once again was being hailed as a great restaurant since it had been taken over by the Alain Ducasse. The restaurant gets 1,400 calls a day for reservations, which can only be made 2 months in advance. We were lucky. Before we left home, we had contacted the Concierge Service of American Express. They knew it was R’s birthday, got us the reservation and requested a window table.

At the base of the tower is a vast space surrounded by the monumental support pedestals.  On this night of frigid powerful wind, a veritable cyclone, or at least it felt like one, was created.  We walked from one side to the other trying to find the entrance to the restaurant.  We found the modestly marked entry and assembled with other guests, waiting for the next move.  A uniformed employee was going to lead us once again across this forbidding space to the pedestal housing the elevator. 

Walking up across the broad base of the tower and looking up one forgave the discomfort. What a sight!  There are so many places in the world that are talked about in the most glowing terms and then when you get there they are less than spectacular. Not so this. Just looking up through the steel super-structure was breathtaking.

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We were steered into a large elevator along with people going up to the viewing platforms on the tower.

 

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The elevator arrived at the second stage and we were led by an apron-clad waiter out of the elevator some 410 feet above the ground. The wind was even more ferocious, completely exposed and high as we were, and it was all we could do to hold onto the cold metal railing as we climbed a narrow circular steel staircase to the entrance of the restaurant.   This was a Jules Verne experience, indeed.  Augmented by our leader’s problem in opening the door being held shut tight by the winds.

The restaurant circles the tower and as we were led to our table, laid out before us were the lights and sights of Paris. We were given a window table looking out across the Seine to the Arc De Triomphe. We were, in every sense, in the middle of the City of Light.

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We had our usual aperitifs –Suze and Campari — and then the decision: order à la carte or the chief’s 4-course Dégustation: entreé, fish, meat and desert.  We opted for the “light” choice of 3 courses and ordered à la carte. R started with Seared Scallops, light cauliflower cream and raw nut-brown butter. E started with Pressed Chicken and foie gras layers with black truffle and toasted country finger bread.

For a second course R chose Roasted Imperial langoustine, sautéed green vegetables, black truffle and E chose Suckling Lamb on the spit, with baby artichokes covered with a pearl juice.

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Wine selection, always an adventure, was aided by Amar, the sommelier and friend of Jean Francois, who owns the caveau in Chassagne-Montrachet. We settled on a Bordeaux which paired just right with the meat, fish and fowl we were eating throughout the meal.

We sat back and as you can see it was as if R had settled in over Paris.

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We moved slowly through each course, enjoying the surprising combinations, through the cheese and onto desert, which was brought with a  candle and  a chocolate inscription, “Joyeux anniversaire.”

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2 Responses to “Renée’s Birthday at the Eiffel Tower …”

  1. almost unbelievable! how perfect your trip has been, is being, and will forever continue to become… ?? (please save me the leftovers:)

  2. Well, your dinner a la Tour d’Eiffel sounded wonderful. It is a magical place. Great, great pictures of the lights all around.
    Did not know you’d gone to the Riviera this spring. How long? More info.?
    I imagine the flowers in the parks are really nice just about now.

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