I am getting married in France in May 2009 and will likely be spending the honeymoon in France and Italy. I am very fascinated about all things food and wine so I take dining out very seriously. I have been doing research on all of the various highly acclaimed restaurants. I had initially wanted to try a 2-3-star restaurant in Paris as this is our first stop on our honeymoon and I wanted to have the full experience of dining at a top restaurant. However, none of the restaurants really felt just right as a place I had to go to. The truth is I'd like to go to all of them, but being that I'd be limited to one, none of them seemed to stand head and shoulders above the rest to me given the cost of the meal. I had been most interested in L'Astrance and L'Ambrosie among others, but none of these felt perfect. I had given up on trying any 3-star places figuring that I'd instead try to visit a number of the renowned bistros and Bib Gourmand places.
However, that was before I came across L'Arnsbourg. The style of the cuisine and the decor and atmosphere is exactly what I am looking for. Unfortunately, I soon discovered the remote location of the restaurant, which in many ways made me even more excited in dining there. My excitement though, does not remove the practical aspects of actually getting to Hotel K and eating at L'Arnsbourg. This will be my first time in Europe (neither my fiancee nor I speak French well) and my fiancee and I will be traveling primarily by train. I am interested to know any advice on how to get to L'Arnsbourg from Paris. I assume we could take a train from Paris to the closest train station, but I was wondering how easy or difficult it is to arrange car service to the restaurant from the station.
Any advice or comments on L'Arnsbourg would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Have they been off this week? I know they close sometime in September. I'll be in Strasbourg in Oct and am trying to make reservations but haven't received a response to my reservation request from last week.
P.S. Thanks to all the members of the France board, you have made planning my France trip much easier!
I've been posting in the board referred to above.
Jean-George Klein is a perfectionist that hasn't yet succumbed to the ills of success. Some 3-star chefs kick it back and leave it to the younger staff to take over. Not him. He is the only one I know who still mows the grass outside the hotel, rakes the rock garden, buys toiletries for the hotel and gets up to personally slice ham for breakfast for the guests.
The work that his wife and sister put in to make the place special also deserves special commendation. If the 3 of them did not pull together as a team, it wouldn't be the success that it is. I had the pleasure of speaking to his mother and she told me more about how the built the place up. Amazing story.
Being a detailed oriented-person, I can see people who are dedicated. You need that, because for a restaurant at such a remote location, one bad criticism in the press will kill the business.
Logistics for michaelstl: You'd be best served by a car with GPS. Seriously. If you fly to Strasbourg, you can get a fine German car from either SIXT or Europcar with GPS. Strasbourg is worth a good look-see.
I went to L'Arnsbourg a little over a month ago. I was in Strasbourg and drove there. It really is in a remote location. I am not sure why you would want to go there from Paris; without a car it will be a long trip taking several hours and some expensive taxis from Strasbourg to Baerenthal. If you were to drive (which it does not seem you planning on doing), it is about a four or five hour drive. This is not a day trip. If you wanted to go and stay for a night or two, that would make more sense.
It seems like you have done your research and have your heart set on L'Arnsbourg, so I would not want to dissuade you, but it really makes more sense to go if you are touring Strasbourg/ Alsace, spending 2 or 3 days in the region.
Regarding L'Arnsbourg, it is a wonderful experience. It is a beautiful, unique setting with cutting edge dynamic food and wonderful service; definitely a special meal. But, personally, foodwise, I prefer a few restaurants in Paris to L'Arnsbourg (L'Astrance and Pierre Gagnaire among them). I enjoyed most of the food, though only a few things blew me away (truffle/potato cappuccino..mmm). One little food note: I tired of the repeated use of the various concentrated gelatin cubes replacing vegetables and or fruit. I do not recall having one vegetable of any type in its original form, and I felt something lacking. That being said, this is molecular gastronomy, so it really isn't a criticism so much as a personal preference.
(Another note: This was the most expensive water bill I have ever had; two bottles of Evian at 15 euros each. Total water expense for lunch: $49. I know the water markup in three-stars is high, but this left a bit of bad taste in my mouth. (And I am not a fan of Evian, I like Volvic!).
Enjoy your honeymoon and good luck.
l'Arnsbourg is not really close to Strausbourg, it is 40 miles north maybe more so it will be a hefty taxi ride on top of the TGV from Paris. It is, however, worth a journey. I do not think there is train service to any of the small villages, such as Lembach, Woerth, Niederbronn le Bains, etc that are adjacent to l'Arnsbourg.
See here for extensive notes plus pictures on L'Arnsbourg:
There is now a high speed TGV train from Paris to Strasbourg. There are plenty of taxis at the train station that will take you to L'Arnsbourg. Also the Klein family is so wonderful that I am sure they can help you with all travel arrangements. Just email them!