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The Jules Verne: a new look for a restaurant in a class of its own...
The legendary restaurant on the Eiffel Tower’s second level is now managed by the Alain Ducasse group. JV’s transformation is underscored by the innovative interior signed Patrick Jouin.
After all, with seating for 120 people at 125m (410’) off the ground in an iron tower, this is not your run-of-the-mill restaurant... The fittings and furnishings, transported piece by piece, were meticulously weighed so as not to exceed the permitted limit. The Iron Lady is not only worried about her embonpoint, but also about heat and fire - the briefest use of a welding or soldering tool requires prior authorisation and must be carried out under tight supervision!
Space was also a consideration: every item had to be measured with absolute precision, as for a boat or aeroplane. The kitchen, set in the heart of the restaurant, is rather compact, with 45m² (484 ft²) devoted to the actual cooking area. Here again, gas heat is prohibited, so food is cooked using electricity, induction, steam, teppan-yaki (Japanese-style hot plates), and so on... A prep area has been created under the Champ de Mars** where primary ingredients - such as vegetables and fish - are prepared; thus only ‘clean’ victuals are allowed access to the Jules Verne heights...
Again, with a view to optimising space and improving circulation, the old bar-lounge has disappeared, replaced by an alluring micro-bar and three rooms named after the sights they give on to: the ‘Trocadéro’, the ‘Branly’, and the ‘Champs de Mars’.
Having a meal at the Jules Verne is never an ordinary experience. And so Patrick Jouin has based his interior design on acknowledging and sublimating certain emotions.
There’s magic in the air from the moment you arrive near the steps leading to the restaurant at the foot of the south pillar. You enter via a corridor that gives a fascinating glimpse at the tower’s metallic insides. From there, a private lift takes you 125m up.
The first thing you’ll see is the kitchen and its toqued battalion through a vast window. Clearly, you are not about to set foot on the moon, but in a restaurant!
What next? No futuristic decor, no overbearing motifs, simply a sober, contemporary space in warm shades of beige and chocolate.
The play of natural and artificial lighting has been masterfully combined, creating an ambience which is perfectly adapted whether daytime or night, lunch or dinner...
One of the highlights of the decor is the glass partition featuring an aluminium honeycomb which surrounds the central kitchen and office core.
During the day, it mirrors the panorama, offering a vertiginous perspective. The view (extraordinary, lest we forget) is omnipresent, no matter where you are facing; you truly have the feeling that you are suspended in space and time.
As evening falls, the partition glows with a bluish light which becomes deeper as the hours pass, giving off an increasingly ‘sexy’ ambience. The windows have even been specially prepared so that ‘Paris by night’ may be savoured without glare or reflections.
And what about the food, actually? Alain Ducasse has given preference to cuisine symbolic of ‘the flavours of France’ - all ingredients and wines originate from the Hexagon. 34-year-old chef Pascal Féraud has added ‘just the right touch of modernism’ to this lofty gastronomic journey.
The price? Lunch (weekdays) is the most ‘affordable’, with a €75 menu (€110 with wine chosen to accompany the dishes); dinner is €155, or €190 for the culinary discovery menu, not including wine.
* Velib' is Paris’s stylish self-service bicycle-hire system.
** The Champs de Mars stretches from the École militaire to the Eiffel Tower. Used for military exercises in the past, the 1889 (construction of the Eiffel Tower), 1900 and 1937 World Expositions - the Expos - were held here.
Restaurant Le Jules Verne
Eiffel Tower – south pillar
Avenue Gustave Eiffel
Tel: (33) 01 45 55 61 44
Reservations may be made 2 months in advance by phone; 3 months via Internet.