Set in a luxurious nineteenth century mansion overlooking an expansive private garden, the Michelin starred Apicius is a magical haven of calm just steps away from the Champs-Elysées in the heart of Paris. The extraordinary setting is matched by the refined cuisine of self taught chef and owner Jean-Pierre Vigato, who credits his mother and grandmother with developing his love of French cuisine. While the prices may be in line with the aristocratic backdrop, many agree the experience is well worth the splurge to enjoy a languorous afternoon or evening of memorable flavor combinations and a perhaps even a luscious chocolate soufflé to finish out the meal.
Apicius, 20 Rue d’Artois, Paris, France +33 1 43 80 19 66
Tucked away within the sumptuous Hotel Burgundy, Le Baudelaire is an oasis of gourmet cuisine focused around a striking central atrium with floor-to-ceiling glass panels. The creativity of its young Chef Pierre Rigothier has earned the restaurant a Michelin star, where innovative cooking techniques and the use of exceptional seasonal ingredients combine with exquisite presentation to produce a meal not soon forgotten. The attentive service is also on par with the caliber of the luxury hotel, and the fairly reasonable fixed price lunch makes this unforgettable culinary experience within reach.
Le Baudelaire, 8 Rue Duphot, Paris, France +33 1 42 60 34 12
Chartier opened in 1896, established by two brothers seeking to provide good quality food at affordable prices for the blue collar workers that arrived in the metropolis after industrialization. It is now a Parisian institution, with its gigantic belle époque dining hall – officially recognized as a historic site in 1989 – still displaying the sideboards where workers could keep their own personal napkins. The initial philosophy also remains intact, which means that it is one of the most reasonable restaurants in town serving classic French dishes, just be prepared to wait in line if you come at peak hours.
Le Bouillon Chartier, 7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, Paris, France +33 1 47 70 86 29
Located at the very top of the popular Centre Georges Pompidou, Georges affords panoramic views of Paris and its landmarks, and its immense terrace provides an ideal place to enjoy a sunset after taking in the artistic offerings at the Musée National d’Art Moderne below. The artfulness extends to the restaurant’s inside space, where gigantic aluminum structures created by Jakob + MacFarlane dominate the cavernous interior, creating nooks for diners echoing the colours of the building’s iconic pipes and ducts.
Georges, 19 Rue Beaubourg, Paris, France +33 1 44 78 47 99
Le Jules Verne
You might think that a restaurant set within the city’s most significant landmark, in fact one of the most famous in the world, would have to be a tourist trap of some kind. But this is France, and at the helm of the Eiffel Tower’s Jules Verne restaurant is none other than Master Chef Alain Ducasse (21 Michelin stars and counting), who affirms his desire to ‘to ensure that a moment spent at the Jules Verne is forever etched into the memory of those who have lived it.’ This is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience, serving aesthetically stunning contemporary updates of classic French dishes, and offering a vast selection of 430 French wines.
Le Jules Verne, Tour Eiffel, Avenue Gustave Eiffel, Paris, France +33 1 45 55 61 44
A glass dome perched atop a Haussmann building overlooking the Seine and the rooftops of central Paris, Kong is a visually striking locale, enhanced by the spectacular design of Philippe Starck. Located at the top of the Louis Vuitton building, this is the place where the fashionistas of Paris come to drink champagne alongside Asian finger foods, its fashionable credentials even earning the restaurant an appearance in the finale of the television series Sex in the City. Undergoing a renovation in 2013 to celebrate its tenth anniversary, it aims to remain a stylish Parisian address for years to come, where after dinner you can catch a DJ set and keep the experience going well into the night.
Kong, 1 Rue du Pont Neuf, Paris, France +33 1 40 39 09 00
Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse
The veritable summit of grand French dining, Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse is a three Michelin star culinary fantasy in a dining room inspired by the Salon de la Paix at the Château de Versailles and given a contemporary inflection by Philippe Starck. Visually dazzling courses, with flavors and preparations that may leave you speechless, prove to be a perfect match for the decadent décor with its antique mirrors, crystal chandeliers, marble, and frescoes, along with the captivating view overlooking the adjacent Jardin des Tuileries. The over the top epicurean experience definitely comes with a price tag fit for a king, but everyone has the right to such a majestic experience once in his or her life.
Le Meurice Restaurant, 228 Rue de Rivoli, Paris, France +33 1 44 58 10 55
Set in what is undeniably one of the most beautiful landmarks in Paris, L’Opéra Restaurant is located behind the pillars of the eastern facade of Charles Garnier’s opera house, one of the city’s architectural masterpieces that still presents cutting edge operas and ballets today. While the opera house was inaugurated in 1875, the restaurant is a more recent addition, opening in 2011 after coming up with a plan that would not impact the landmark edifice. Architect Odile Decq found a solution by designing a ‘phantom’ structure that curves surreptitiously around the historic pillars in an undulating mass of red and white. The 33-year-old Chef Stéphane Bidi in turn combines a sense of innovation with his experience from prestigious culinary institutions (Le Crillon and Georges V) to his dishes, which focus on local produce and even include honey harvested on the roofs of the Opéra Garnier.
Le Train Bleu
A truly legendary Parisian locale, Le Train Bleu was unveiled in 1901 in the Gare de Lyon train station, named after the train that traveled from the station to the Côte d’Azur. A belle époque masterpiece now designated as a historic landmark, the gildings, carvings, moldings, chandeliers, and frescoes painted by 27 different French artists offer a step back in time to the glamorous days of train travel, when luminaries like Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau, Colette, and Jean Gabin were guests. Renovated in 2014 to restore the site to its original glory, it also serves up reliable and well executed French classics like the leg of lamb, carved on a trolley in front of you.
Le Train Bleu, Gare de Lyon, Place Louis Armand, Paris, France +33 1 43 43 09 06
Tucked into a back street in the Marais, the restaurant 404 has transformed a 16th century edifice into a Moroccan retreat, with its lovely chandeliers, stone walls, and ornate windows. Serving North African classics like couscous and tajines in a warm candlelit room, the tables are spaced close together which, although lacking in privacy, offer a cozy, convivial atmosphere. The owner Mourad Mazouz (Momo) runs a small collection of unique establishments around the world, including the award-winning art and culinary complex Sketch in London, and the recently opened boudoir-style space behind 404 named, quite aptly, Derrière.
Le 404, 69 Rue des Gravilliers, Paris, France +33 1 42 74 57 81