Celebrity chef Alain Ducasse took over the Eiffel Tower’s Le Jules Verne restaurant in 2007 and earned it a well-deserved Michelin star. In addition, the restaurant’s location on the second floor of the tower (about 125 meters or 410 feet in the sky) is one of the most unique in Paris. We enjoyed lunch there on our family vacation in Paris and it is an experience I would certainly recommend adding to your bucket list.
Le Jules Verne has a dedicated entrance and elevator that rockets guests straight up to the restaurant. After dining, guests can head straight on to the second floor viewing deck (through a private entrance, of course) with no additional tickets required.
Le Jules Verne Reservations
Overall planning for our trip commenced much later than it should have. By that time (two months in advance) skip-the-line tickets for the Eiffel Tower were sold out—June is an extraordinarily busy time to visit Paris—and reservations for Le Jules Verne could not be made online as they were showing booked at lunch and I thought a 7:00 p.m. dinner start time would be too late for my daughter.
However, the concierge at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris was able to secure us a lunch reservation for us with no problem. If you are visiting Paris, make a note to book a reservation here when the window opens 90 days in advance.
We arrived about 15 minutes or so early, which I would recommend, because you’ll need to check in and go through security screening. Plus, the elevator is small and there is only so much room in it. The gentleman handling check-in at ground floor level had a list of reservations but I’ve heard that it is always wise to print out your confirmation, just in case.
If you do not make a reservation well in advance, you will not be able to dine on the day. It is that popular.
I had heard mixed things about what to wear and the dress code on the website simply says no sportswear like shorts, trainers (tennis shoes) or t-shirts. I read somewhere about someone being turned away for wearing jeans. My daughter and I wore casual dresses and my husband wore a nice Thomas Pink dress shirt with dark jeans. At lunch, plenty of men were dressed in the same manner while others opted for sports coats. I would choose the latter for men, however, if opting for dinner as it seems to be a more formal experience.
Inside Le Jules Verne Restaurant in the Eiffel Tower
Giant windows reveal unobstructed views of Paris. Natural light floods the entire restaurant. The decor is contemporary yet comfortable and it might be the “Structure” serving plate or sleek Pininfarina chairs but it definitely felt like you were in a different world—Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea kept coming to mind. The plate was removed after seating but was inspired by the base of the Eiffel Tower (and can be purchased online for €250 each).
I had every intention of keeping Grace the American Girl in my bag (if you don’t know the story behind her, she dreams of owning her own French bakery and travels to France). But when I checked us in as a party of three on the ground level, staff member jokingly said, “You mean four?” And, our servers were equally receptive. So, out she came. While I wouldn’t recommend bringing a pile of toys—your kids do need to be on their best behavior—at the time of our lunch there were many other children dining with their families with a stuffed animal or similar in tow. The same goes for her hat.
Note that there is no children’s menu and that children are charged as adults. A choice of set menus is the only option for lunch and dinner and those range from €105 – €230 per person, exclusive of wine. We added on a moderately-priced bottle of Burgundy for €110. There are wine pairings but I don’t remember seeing them for the 3-course menu. I heard they are amazing.
(Note: In a fine dining establishment like this, it’s awkward to take photos. I didn’t see a single person whip out their phones so I apologize that my food photos do not have proper styling, set-up or angles because I was trying to take them as discreetly as possible!)
I regret not taking a photo of the menu so that I could relay exactly what we ordered but just know that out of the nine different dishes (we ordered the 3-course lunch) between us, all were beautifully-plated and fantastic.
We ordered our courses from a set menu that appears to change monthly. Next, the sommelier came to take our wine order. An amuse bouche was served with bread almost immediately.
The butter was shaped like the base of the Eiffel Tower, of course.
Our first course choices were a foie gras (extraordinary), salmon with caviar and celery salad (my daughter loved it) and roasted asparagus (it was prettier than it looks).
Next came the entrees. The choice was between two fish entrees and a beef. I regret that I don’t remember the type of fish, but my daughter and I each ordered a different one and both were melt-in-your-mouth exquisite.
My husband choice beef. Beautifully-plated. Really kicking myself for not taking note of the menu descriptions.
Next, came the dessert courses accompanied by a plate of macarons and decadent chocolate. I ordered a mix of berries with fennel-infused ice that you ladle on top. It was the most unique dessert I’ve ever tasted. My daughter went for a raspberry cake while my husband’s chocolate cake was to-die-for.
As you might imagine, we were quite stuffed after the fact. The courses were very well-spaced, too.
A table by a window is never guaranteed though the first to make reservations on the date can request it and have a better chance of receiving it. We were not by the window but it didn’t really matter because the view is hard to escape.
Our table near the wine cellar provided a peek of a formal method of service that is so rare these days. Servers and staff would line up one-by-one, each holding a tray with a dish on it, to complete service for an entire course at a table. They were a little out of sight from most of the dining area but it sheds light on the amount of finesse a fine dining restaurant like this is known for.
Access to the Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck
After lunch we were given access to the second floor viewing deck with panoramic views of Paris. Of course, the restaurant has a private entrance to use here, too. The viewing deck was crowded but we were able to enjoy it long enough to take some photos and point out some famous sights to my daughter. The restaurant also gave each of us a generous packet of delicious madeleines to take back to our hotel.
You will read mixed reviews of Le Jules Verne mostly because of the cost. In fact, they are so mixed that I wasn’t expecting much from the food. Yes, €425 is a pretty pricey lunch for two adults and a child but you are paying for an experience that you’ll never forget. Plus, we would have purchased skip-the-line Eiffel Tower tickets anyway. Remember, you are dining in the Eiffel Tower!
The views at night are also spectacular, of course.
The bottom line: Dining at Le Jules Verne is a very posh way to experience the Eiffel Tower and something to add to your life bucket list.
Have you been to Le Jules Verne?
*Restaurant interior photos are by Pierre Monetta, courtesy of Le Jules Verne.