Restaurants to Splurge On in Paris

Iconic restaurants serving haute cuisine—in the country where haute cuisine was born.

13 Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, 75006 Paris, France
There are two entrances to this historical restaurant. The main entrance on the rue de l’Ancienne-Comedie and a “back” entrance that is part of a lovely passage called Le Passage de Cour de Commerce Saint-Andre. There are many passages still remaining in Paris [note, I am going to do a separate post on some of the ones we visited and will link to it when I do]. They are covered shopping areas that allowed the wealthy to shop unencumbered by the elements. Architecturally they are fantastic to visit and photograph, some have endured better than others. This passage was opened in 1735, and was built on part of the old wall of Paris, around the time of the King of France, Phlippe Auguste. This wall made up the limit of Paris during the Middle Ages! The entrance to this passage is at 128 Blvd St. Germain. No matter what door you enter, Le Procope is a great restaurant to experience a traditional (and yes, heavy) French meal. The menu has all the classics: coq au vin (chicken in wine sauce), entrecot (steak), magret de canard (duck breast); beouf tartare, as well as several fish selections. The starters are equally traditional with terrines, salades and escargot (snail), among others.
51 Quai des Grands Augustins
Parisians are hopeless romantics, quick to show their devotion with extravagant gifts and decadent meals. As early as the 1780’s guests were taking advantage of the plush, private rooms and fine cuisine at the restaurant Lapérouse. Pavillon LeDoyen is a romantic Michelin 3 star restaurant, nestled in the discrete gardens of the Champs Elysées where diners are served heavenly meals by candlelight. Intimate dining rooms in a private mansion adorned with 18th century art and Baroque moldings seduce patrons at 1728. An evening at Le Chalet des Îles is an affordable option that includes an magical boat ride to an island in the Bois de Boulogne. On a warm summer’s night, dinner can be ordered from the terrace, the stars shining above.
17 Rue de Beaujolais, 75001 Paris, France
Located in the Palais Royale since 1784, the Michelin-starred Le Grand Véfour offers an exceptional culinary experience in a historic atmosphere. It has seen many decades of famous guests, from Napoleon Bonaparte to George Sand. Ask to be seated at Victor Hugo’s table, which is right next to the window, so you can have both views of the park and the entire dining room—it’s the best table for a people-watchers! Chef Guy Martin’s cooking doesn’t come cheap, but you can enjoy a similar experience for lunch at half the price.
1er étage Tour Eiffel Champ de Mars, 75007 Paris, France
There is a relatively unknown restaurant on the first platform of the Eiffel Tower. This used to be a private conference room area closed to the public. But it’s was re-done into a restaurant called 58 Eiffel Tower. It sits at 58 meters above the ground, hence the name! The restaurant is unique in that it serves products only produced in France (or French territories) so the ingredients are fresh and only what is in season. The preparation of the food is a challenge due to the harsh constraints of all the fire regulations for the tower. There is no gas, everything is electric which any chef will tell you is not the easiest when it comes to controlling temperature, etc. They offer a fixe prix menu that includes a glass of champagne, a starter, wine and water, main course, dessert and coffee. You can also order a la carte as well, if that is what you prefer. In addition, they have a kids menu as well. You must make a reservation which allows you to (a) go to a special booth where you do not have to wait in line to pick up your ticket, (b) access to a special no-wait line to access the elevator to the first platform (c) full access to the first platform. When making a reservation, try to get a table on the outside so you have a view on Paris, rather than on the inside, which gives you a view of the interior of the tower. It is a great way to bypass all the tourists and enjoy a unique experience in the Eiffel Tower.
6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris, France
Ohhh, if these walls could talk, the things they would have to say! The café Saint-Régis, located on the quaint and quiet island of Ile Saint-Louis, just a few meters from Notre-Dame, is one of those cafés that make Paris what it is. Professional waiters in black-and-white uniforms tend from one table to another frantically, while locals talk all things fashion, philosophy, or politics, or quietly read an enthralling book by the window. While this scene was accurate 50 years ago and still is today, there are notable differences, technology-wise, as the café is equipped with free Wi-Fi. So laptops and smartphones abound, for the pleasure of Instagram users. Atmospheric, historic, cozy and, well, of course, pricey. That’s the Saint Régis. My favorite time to go? Right before sunset after a long stroll on the banks of the Seine in the winter, either outside under the warm lights or inside, away from the hustle. But regardless of the weather, it’s always a good time at St. Régis...
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