Le Jules Verne, Paris – March 2016

This lunch was planned a few month ago to coincide with the semi-marathon of the missus. However, due to her bad knee, she decided not to run. I decided to stick to plan – that being that I had presented the idea of dining on top of the world to one of my best friends Jörgen – and he as always being a good sport about it –  saying yes and inviting Miss S along. The eve before we had both spent with the infamous Helge Schneider – and the laughs of that evening still lingered in the air as we headed down in the car on a cold Sunday morning for a decadent lunch experience.

If you read reviews of Le Jules Verne, you will learn that most people find food disappointing, views unbeatable and service very French. The restaurant is of course if you do not know it situated on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, and has regained it’s second michelin star while run by Alain Ducasse.

Michelin stars are easier obtained in Paris then anywhere else it seems, and some of most disappointing michelin starred meals have actually been had at two starred restaurants. As for my expectations, I hoped Le Jules Verne  would be better than it’s reputation and feared it would not.

There are two menus for lunch and dinner in the weekends, and weekdays a more affordable lunch menu is also available. But here on a Sunday, the small menu will set you back 190 eur, and the big one 230 as far as I remember.

Arriving in Paris, we parked the car without any problems some 800 meters away, and walked up towards the impressive building and the “private” lift that is reservd to the diners of Le Jules Verne.

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I love Paris

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Looking for our ride.

Security is understandably high, you are screened and only allowed to enter waiting room for lift, if you have booked a table. An American tourist, who tried to sneak her way pass the security, or was maybe just very naive, was met by a very rude and argumentative controller who VERY unfriendly told her to go back and wait down below until he had time to deal with her. She didnt leave, which I would have – but waited for clearance from the restaurant above. She never got it – even though there was actually lots of space as it turned out. Guess the controller was not too impressed by her sneaky ways or her rubber boots.

The ride up in that “private” lift, with the views of the tower and Paris around you, certainly helps building up the expectations of a very special meal.

When entering the restaurant, we were met by very friendly waiters, checked off on a list again, and showed to our ….WINDOW…table. 🙂 No window table can normally be reserved – you get it by chance – or good name I guess. In this case it was surely by chance.

Some shots to get you going

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The tables, beautifully set, the three dining rooms very classy and a little bit packed but since not very fullit still felt like a room with lots of air on this day.

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Great bread was offered and the Jules Verne logo everywhere.

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W had opted for the “smaller” menu consisting of 4 dishes, plus the usual greeting from the kitchen which in this case was listed on the menu, and was the only one. Far from the army of amuses you are used to in other places at this level.

But tasty it was and probably the best arrangement of the day.

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Marinated Sea Bream with citrus.

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Pan-seared Duck Fois Gras with Walnut condiment

I think this was the best dish for me of this menu, but as you can see, arranged – as what we had realized by now was the style of the chef – in a very “laid back” brasserie style.

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Warm green Asparagus from Provence, vin Jaune Mousseline

I love asparagus, and these were nice, the mousseline far from perfect, and again an arrangement I could have matched in my kitchen.

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Seared Beef Fillet, Truffled Macaroni, cooking Jus

Beef cooked more bleu than saignant and on the cold side temperature wise, but the biggest flaw was in my opinion that no truffles were to be found nor tasted as described on the menu.

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Pre-Dessert – Pineapple/Coco Palet, Passion Fruit and Ginger Sorbet and next to that different sweets.

Very nice pre-dessert with a very poor presentation. Same can be said about the sweets 🙂

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Cripy “Tower Nut” Chocolate from own Manufacture in Paris

Nice that they finish on a high note, very nice dessert served with a separate nutty ice-cream.

Last round of sweets – and then a digestive from the small list of spirits, which to our surprise were reasonably priced.

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My conclusion:

It was not as bad as feared, it was definitely  not as good as I had hoped. The service, especially the sommelier, where flawless, and smiling and my request for a signed menu was met without a fuss.

The views and the atmosphere almost unbeatable. The tables are too close, but hell – you are dining at the Eiffel Tower.

But – but – but. At this price, and with this name – Ducasse as much as Tour Eiffel and Le Jules Verne – one must expect food at a very high level. The only high level here being the attitude not what was served us. All food was nice and eatable and had few flaws Had it been served to us in a Brasserie at 1/3 of the price all would have been good. But it was not.

Wine menu which we chose had nice wines, and very French choices, but with good names and vintages and fitted the food.

We thank Jules Verne for having us, and if you guys reading this want to experience this as well, go right ahead. But do not do it for the food. There are better meals to be had also in Paris.

We were all three happy we had tried this in our lives. Checked. Will we be back. For sure not. There are other restaurants equally high priced that will bring food to die for, not only views. Falco, Sollerod Kro, Victor’s Fine Dining – you are light years ahead of Le Jules Verne. You might not bring views of Paris, but that is being made up for in so many other ways.

But thank you Jörgen for this lunch and for your friendship, your advises through my life and for always being there for me. It was a great experience. Thanks Miss S. for the female touch at this lunch and your company. We will have better lunches I am sure. And to the American tourist from the beginning, I hope you found a better price/quality ratio than we did, and I am sure we had better views 🙂

My rating below will reflect the extremely high price you pay for the privilege it is to dine in Le Jules Verne.

My price / quality rating for this visit:

Food 5p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 5p (5), 14.5p (20).

 

 

 

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Let us never forget the good times in Paris…..

Paris is for lovers, you will breathe love as soon as you put your feet on the streets of Paris.

At first I did not get it. Paris – the fuss – the vibe. But having returned a good 10 times I can honestly say its the best city in the world….next to Sydney, but thats another story. I have so many good memories of Paris that I hardly know where to start.

Top of the pops you will find a lot of possibilities, …but my favourite is George V (Four Seasons). Everybody should be allowed to indulge in the history, the luxury and the service – the vibe – that is second to none – just once in their life. You might find better rooms in Hyatt, Zürich – more charm at Falsled Kro, Denmark, – more relaxed atmosphere in Hohe Dühne in Rostock, but the sheer level of service and attention from all staff is second to none. Add rooms of 80 sqm. plus – which over the years has been occupied by anyone from Marilyn Monroe, over Bruce Sprinsteen, to Rolling Stones or Bill Clinton  – and you will find yourself as part of history. The restaurant Le Cing (having lost it third michelin star) is still a favourite of mine. Its not cheap, bring the big wallet, but forget about the rest of the world while the staff make sure you have the time of your life. I have been disappointed way to many times with other hotels in Paris – and have you once been at George V., you dont wanna be anywhere else. It is expensive, but its the best. You are greeted throughout your stay by most staff with your sir name once you have checked in. If you do go, try their lobster club sandwich in the bar or in the tea room, last time it clocked in at around 60 euro. Add a glass of wine or Champagne for 25,- and you are on a roll.

Heres a few shots to get you going…

The lobby...

The Tea room, have a piece of cake or a Lobster sandwich!

Sleep tight...

Getting around in Paris

The problem with such a huge city is that you are only there for a few days, and there is SO much to see. I hate subways/metro. Too many people, being underground, finding the way, Im just not a metro person. I shall introduce you to two very different ways of travelling Paris.

The best 200 eur I ever spend was when I booked a private limousine/driver with Baron´s Limousine – google it. I opted for the “Paris by Night” version and upgraded the tour with a nice chilled Chardonnay which came at 20 eur extra. The English speaking driver, asked for requests as in regard to what we wanted to see. We requested the Eiffel Tower which explodes in lights every evening at 8 pm, and after that we let him choose the tour. And what a ride he gave us. To see all these old and illuminated buildings – with stops – would NEVER have been possible by metro or foot. The drivers storytelling and charm was amazing. The hours flew away. As I said, best money ever spend. Do not book the stretch limousine as we did, it prevents you from going “deep” into some areas.

The limousine in front of Notre Dame - one of many stops.

If you think thats too much money (you are wrong off course – but given the crisis I can understand) – and luckily there is a very well functioning alternative. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to experience Paris is on a hop on hop off Paris bus tour, which stops at all the must-sees, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Montmartre.”

Check it out and book directly here –

http://www.localparistours.com/paris-hop-on-hop-off-bus

http://www.isango.com/france-tours/paris-tours/paris-sightseeing-hop-on-hop-off-tour_3733

Paris offers so many different areas, different styles, different vibes, my favourite places is the obvious Montmartre and the busy ChampsÉlysées. Dont forget the Latin Quarter.

Paris, Bruce Springsteen and I

Now I am a huge Bruce fan and, I have been lucky to watch 5 shows over the years in Paris, twice solo in 1997, with the E. Street Band in 2002, again solo in 2005, and with the Seeger Sessions Band in 2006. My family and I have met Bruce and Patti twice in Paris, heres the best shots from those encounters.

The missus, Oscar and Bruce Springsteen

Yours truly with beautiful Patti Scialfa !

Thank you Bruce and Patti. Rock on.