When we arrived a bit early at the Eiffel Tower (la tour d’eiffel–I have such a hard time saying it in English) for our 1:30 Jules Verne lunch, the day had already not gone as planned.
It wasn’t raining, but so much running around to stay ahead of the rain the last few days had taken their toll. Instead of going to a museum as planned, we walked leisurely, meandered really, to the tower, stopping to climb the Arc de Triomphe, which was inexplicably free and not crowded.
We noticed the unusually long lines at the Eiffel Tower (like wrapping around and down and then some) as we walked under it, but it took a moment to realize it was actually closed.
I checked the Internet, but Google proved useless as did any local news sites I found in English. So I hopped on Twitter and discovered a hidden Tweet about a man with a backpack on tower. And a snarky British journalist requesting in his own way more info than a suspicious man with backpack on Eiffel Tower, ’cause that never happens. Turns out it was a few men on the Eiffel Tower before it opened with large backpacks. My mind jumps to basejumpers, but those backpacks could have held anything. The men were not found despite an extensive search.
The search meant the tower was not open to the public, which meant Jules Verne was not open to the public. We eventually got in the Jules Verne clump and waited until someone came out and checked us in. For us, it was just after our reservation time, but many had been waiting since 11 a.m. Most had left.
Miraculously, after our series of unfortunate events on this trip, we were allowed up the tower to enjoy our lunch. One seating. One menu (chicken or fish, not both). On an empty Eiffel Tower.
We were actually one of the first parties allowed in. First we crowded into the lobby, waiting for the small elevator, not meant to rush an entire restaurant up at once. Starting the ascension to the second floor, I couldn’t help but be swept away in a wave of awe.
Given a quick tour as we were lead basically all the way around to the last room, I was struck by how large the restaurant really was. We were seated in a corner by a window and surveyed our kingdom. Pure magic. Jules Verne by Alain Ducasse did not disappoint from the first moment.
The service, even though I’m sure a bit stressed due to everyone in the entire restaurant being sat at the exact same time, was flawless. As this was lunch, Artboy and I shared the wine paring, which really meant I drank most of the wine and then handed it off, as Artboy was feeling like he was coming down with something. There wasn’t a set wine pairing, but instead we discussed wine and I was served some exceptional glasses, including a red and white for dessert, because who should choose?
“More than a restaurant, it is a place of dreams and memories…”
–Alain Ducasse on the Jules Verne Menu
As we were finishing dessert, the tower finally opened to the public and the crowds burst forth ruining our view. The magic was over. And to top it off, I left my camera at the restaurant when we left.