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Sep 8, 1999 07:15 PM


  • j

hello i am going to paris in a month and would like to
go some where romantic for dinner it will be our
anniversary, i have heard about JULES VERNE but didnt
know if it was worth it or just a tourist trap. I
sometimes prefer a small very parisian type place ,
perhaps old, i love places with charm and ambiance.
thanks for any help. We are staying on the left bank
by the quai voltaire.

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  1. m
    Martha Gehan

    Jules Verne has an absolutely unbeatable view (unless
    of course it's foggy) and the staff is nice about
    letting you wander around and gape so long as you don't
    disturb other diners. The food is good in a very
    standard deluxe French restaurant way and it's quite
    expensive. But I would say if what you're going for is
    a breathtaking panorama to contemplate while sipping
    champagne, Jules Verne is your restaurant. I have had
    lunch and dinner there, and on all occasions the
    service has been outstanding and the food has been just
    fine. The decor is modern in a sort of eighties way,
    black and white linens and china, Asian-influenced
    flower arrangements, dramatic lighting. If you decide
    on Jules Verne, make the reservation before you go-it's
    a celebration destination for Parisians as well as
    popular with tourists-and it couldn't hurt to tell them
    it's your anniversary. Do NOT under any circumstamces
    consider going to Tour d'Argent, the other Parisian
    restaurant touted for its view-it's the French
    equivalent of Tavern on the Green. The prettiest
    restaurant in Paris, IMHO, is Le Grand Vefour in the
    Palais-Royal. The beautiful painted pastel panels, the
    chandeliers and the flowers transport you immediately
    to another era (this place is QUITE old and was the
    favorite hangout of Colette amongst other luminaries).
    Again, the food is good but not great but the ambiance
    is magical. L'Ambroisie is a gorgeous place (in the
    Place des Vosges, the loveliest square in Paris) with
    excellent food but it is breathtakingly expensive and a
    trifle stuffy (one is just a bit too aware that one is
    dining in a Temple of Haute Cuisine). If you want
    great food in the top-rank category I would go for
    Arpege or Guy Savoy. But both, while pretty places
    with fabulous food and service, are not super romantic.
    Arpege is a little more intimate than Guy Savoy. BTW,
    you're staying near a good bistro-Le Voltaire. Have a
    good time what ever you choose, and happy anniversary.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Martha Gehan
      Martha Gehan

      P.S. I should have qualified for those who might read
      my previous post that Jules Verne is in the Eiffel
      Tower-and it's HIGH-above the observation deck. And,
      to illustrate just how very old le Grand Vefour is,
      Brillat-Savarin refers to it in The Philosopher in the

      1. re: Martha Gehan

        "Brillat-Savarin refers to it in The Philosopher in the Kitchen"


        hey, way to link it back in for a chowhoundy ending!

        thanks for the great message


        1. re: Jim Leff

          WHAT A GREAT SIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. re: Juli

            Is there anyone who can tell me something about the Paris restaurant LE TIRE BOUCHON ?

            1. re: olivier

              If it's the place I'm thinking of, I ate there a couple of years ago. Not too far from the Tour Eiffel- I want to say metro Felix Faure (?).

              I just looked on and cannot find the address though and don't have the patience right now to go through Paris phone directory on line.

              I remember eating at Tire Bouchon and another place nearby called Thoumieux on the same trip. Thoumieux was ghastly in all ways except location.

              Tire Bouchon was much, much better. I believe they were serving traditional French food 'with a twist'. I recall some kind of fantastic spicy mousse for dessert, I want to say gingerbread...atmosphere was casual, bistro-like. Very good value - I think the chef was also the owner...anyway, wish I could remember more details for you - perhaps another Chowhound will pipe up and verify?

              I notice you have your query posted as part of the 'romantic restaurant' string. I wouldn't think of it as terribly romantic - more warm and friendly. (but that was in 1999). Hope this helps.

      2. re: Martha Gehan

        Would also cast a vote for Jules Verne. By all means
        have an after dinner drink in the nifty little
        bar--right next to the windows. Piano guy is good.
        However, also for consideration: Lucas Carton--very
        pretty room, great food, clever wine pairings. Very
        expensive, but you can't put a price on the quality of
        life, n'est pas? A bit less pricey, Le Violin
        d'Ingres, a realatively new place (old building) opened
        by Christian Constant late of Les Ambassedeurs in the
        Crillon. Which would be yet another lovely, expensive,
        you-will-never-forget it place. They have these
        marvelous little needlepointed stools with gilt feet
        that they place next to you. Not for your peds, for
        your purse. Can you beat that?

      3. c
        Cristina Concepcion

        The best bistro I've ever been to in Paris is Le Petit
        Marguery which is by the Gobelins metro stop in the
        Left Bank. The entire menu is 250 francs prix fixe,
        and everything I've had there is amazing. You can have
        oysters,a Burgundian pigeon stew with buttered noodles
        and a Grand Marnier Souffle, for that much. They have
        a caramel cassonade which is a must, especially if you
        like Haagen Dazs Dulche de Leche. Let me put it this
        way--- my family and I used to go to Taillevent in
        Paris all the time. Taillevent, is the greatest
        restaurant in the world, but now that we've discovered
        Le Petit Marguery, I don't even miss it. And the
        waiters are possibly the nicest ones in France.
        They'll explain the menu to you in a mixture of
        broken, English, French and charades if you don't speak
        the language. So go!

        Another nice restaurant is L'Orangerie which is on the
        little Ile St. Louis, the one behind the island which
        has the Notre Dame. It's very romantic, has the best
        flower arrangements and is intimate, good lighting.
        It's also a prix fixe menu and the house bordeaux,
        which is a red from the owner's vineyard is quite nice.
        I think the food is better at Petit Marguery but
        theirs is quite nice, and they serve Berthillon ice
        cream for dessert. Whenever my mom goes there, she
        feels like she is the only woman dining with her own
        husband. But don't let that stop you.

        Allard, which is on the rue des Beaux Arts on the left
        bank, is perhaps my second favorite bistro after Le
        Petit Marguery. Great frog legs, coquilles St. Jacques
        and the Pintade (Guineau hen) with lentilles are to die
        for. Also, perhaps has the best frisee aux lardons in
        the city. Nice wine list too.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Cristina Concepcion

          My husband and I only have two days to spend in Paris at the end of Sept. Do you know if a reservation is necessary to eat at Taillevent and if so how far is advance? Also, someone recommended the George V restarurant...know anything about this?

          1. re: Karen

            My only dinner at Les Princes, in the George V, was in 1984, so I shouldn't think it would still be a valid critique, but we were thrilled by it. Here's my journal entry:

            "WOW! The dining room was incredible — the entire central courtyard of the hotel—tented and heated for the winter. The staff was attentive and terribly polite. While we were there, a well-dressed Arab guest came in with an obvious call-girl and they were treated as well as anyone else in the room. Maybe better. When their dinner arrived, two waiters took their lobsters apart, cracked the shells, extracted the meat, arranged it perfectly on their plates, and all but spoon-fed them!

            Our meal was wondrous. For the first course, Jimmy had snails in garlic butter and I had lobster bisque. My main dish was veal scallops cordon bleu and Jimmy’s was a dish called “La Triplette des Princes,” which consisted of three pieces of meat: lamb, beef, and veal. A busboy arrived with a tray of three different sauces (wine, truffle, and béarnaise) and waited for him to pick one. But Jimmy couldn’t decide, so he indicated he wanted a bit of each. Slightly confused, the busboy obligingly poured a spoonful of each sauce over each piece of meat. It wasn’t exactly what Jimmy’d meant, but he said the end product was great! For the life of me, I can’t remember what we had for dessert or what wine we drank.

            I asked our waiter if I might buy an ashtray to take home as a souvenir and he took one off the sideboard, carefully ran his finger around the rim to be sure there were no cracks or chips, gave me a conspiratorial wink, and handed it to me. Then he repeated the performance with another ashtray for Jimmy. What nice people! We’d been so intimidated for so long by all the negative stories people had told us about the “arrogant” French. What nonsense."

            Since the hotel has been revamped and is now under new ownership, I don't even know if "Les Princes" still exists. But I can't believe you'd have a bad meal. However, for a truly special dinner, my recommendation is the Jules Verne, in the Eiffel Tower. Ask for a table by the window, facing in any direction. The food is superb, the service smooth and not at all arrogant, and the mood is pure romance.

        2. Juli,

          In case you need other places to eat during your
          stay--not necessarily romantic but very good--there is
          a new trend of very young chefs trained in France's
          best kitchens and who have now opened their own
          bistrots. I've tried only a few of them and here's my

          Au C'Amelot, 50 rue Amelot, 11th arrondissement
          This young chef is doing a fine job for a very good
          priced: 160 FF for 4 courses ($30). Make sure you
          reserve in advance since it's one of the hottest places
          right now. He serves a Prix Fixe Menu and you have no
          option but to refuse a dish. No change in side dishes,
          you just have to trust the chef. There's only one menu
          that changes every day according to what's available on
          the local market. The meal begins with a soup, followed
          by a fish, a meat and dessert. At some point, a cheese
          dish was included in the menu but, at my last visit, it
          was offered for an additional fee (supplement in
          french, a word you have to be aware of because it is
          very present on all the menus nowadays). The wine list
          is very reasonably priced, with a very good selection
          of Bordeaux and Bourgogne. I've had 2 meals there and
          both have been very simple and yet very delicious.
          Obviously, the chef knows what he's doing with the

          Also, I tried the other new hot spot L'Epi Dupin, rue
          Dupin in the 6th arrondissement. very beautiful and
          cosy place. very crowded too with nice but overwhelemed
          waiters. This young chef is very innovative and the
          portions are unusually large for french cuisine. Same
          principle of Prix Fixe menu but with choices of dishes.
          The interesting thing is that the chef cooks with very
          cheap cuts of meats, meaning there's a lot of innards
          on the menu, veal heart and liver, fried pig's feet and
          ears on a layer of bulots (sea snails??), cake of
          eggplant and oxtail, grilled sardines on deep fried
          peasant bread and melted cheese, etc. He also bakes his
          own bread which is delicious. The desserts are very
          innovative too: scoop of lavender ice cream floating on
          a thin biscuit in a soup of fresh berries for example.
          It's worth a try if you feel culinarily adventurous and
          ready to put up with a friendly but rather overwhelmed
          service. For example, it was the first time in France I
          hear a waiter ask a party to leave the table and wait
          for their cab outside of the restaurant.

          Other restaurants worth mentioning are:
          Le Tire-Bouchon, rue des Entrepreneurs, 75015
          Le Troquet, rue Francois Bonvin, 75015
          Le Restaurant d'Eric-Frechon in the 19th
          Le Bistrot du Dome, rue Delhambre, 75006. This one
          particularly for the best grilled squid in the world,
          called Calamar a la placha. Make sure you go to the
          Bistrot, not the main restaurant called the Dome, very
          chic and very expensive. They also have another Bistrot
          du Dome in the 11th arrondissement, near the Bastille.

          I hope you'll have a nice trip to Paris. Don't forget
          service is already included in the check. Tipping is up
          to you and depends on the service you received. It's
          definitely not 15-20%.

          1 Reply
          1. re: joyce briand

            Joyce, very belated thanks for the great, savvy

            To you as well as everyone else who's taken the time to
            post great stuff like this but received no replies, I'd
            like to say: YOU'RE NOT BEING IGNORED! Your tips are
            being noted and filed by legions of hounds (we get many
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            Sorry I don't have time to personally thank every
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            Joyce's, the best way to give back is to post about
            things YOU know...even if nothing more exotic than
            where to find slightly better corn muffins in Toledo.
            Or point out errors or closings...or disagree with
            posted opinions if your experience has differed.

            Even the most obscure information will help somebody
            one day--and obscurity makes for the best reading! (see
            George Osner's wonderful messages re: the minutae of
            the Modesto, CA food scene).

            These boards constitute a database for the worldwide
            chowhound community. Please help feed it!

          2. I ate at Jules Verne on August 26 and it is touristy and romantic at the same time. A room full of turistas, including us, but we had a window table (reservation made by a Paris friend) and watched the sunset over Paris. Tres magnifique! The cuisine was inconsistent. (As a comparison, we had dinner at Daniel a few weeks before and the cooking there was superior). Terrific langoustines at the start, mediocre veal, average cheese course, great chocolate and a relatively fair wine list in terms of depth and price. As you would expect, food prices were high. The service was surprisingly gracious as we had out kids with us, killing two birds with one stone - a visit to the Eiffel Tower and a good meal in Paris. On the whole, I think you would do better elsewhere, staying away from the Michelin 3 star "shrines", which are usually occupied by business types, if you desire a combination of Parisian romance and cuisine. Bonne chance!