Here is my Eiffel Tower Restaurant update reflecting all the changes since my original review of Le Jules Verne a few years ago.
It should be no secret by now that Alain Ducasse, the French chef of rock star stature has taken over management of both Eiffel Tower restaurants (Le Jules verne and the more "accessible" 58 Tour Eiffel, formerly 'Altitude 95', a floor below on the 1st level).
Since this update will focus on Le Jules Verne, there was no better way to frame it than to relate the comments of Patrick Jouin who executed the new design of the iconic Eiffel Tower restaurant, in his own words.
"I would have never imagined going to eat at the Eiffel Tower.
I thought to myself "there's perhaps a restaurant up there, but it's for travelers, it's a panoramic restaurant, for sure a touristic restaurant"...
The first order was doing a project that lives up to expectations... You write a scenario of emotions. What emotions will people experience here. In a nutshell, you try doing it in such a way that there is a sort of progression towards the first bite...
Coming out of the elevator, the first view you have is that of the kitchen.
There you have a big panoramic screen, a sort of big 16 by 9 screen with a live view of everyone working in the back, so that when you go take a seat at your table, you think above all -not just about watching Paris- but also simply that we're going to experience a great moment, a moment of gastronomy...
To start with, the words "Jules Verne" bring up travel, but also marvelous machines as well as science fiction. So that was the... that element of science fiction, I wanted it to be felt.
We have carbon fiber seats, very modern materials, titanium flatware...
The site of this project was I believe the hardest building site I have ever participated in. We are high up. There is one elevator of a certain size, and through that elevator all the materials have to be transported.
The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,000 tons and cannot weigh a kilo more. The project we were drawing here had to be the same weight as the one before. So, we weighed everything that we removed, we weighed everything that we put back in, to match it to the gram.
In the middle, there is a gaping hole... It's the old Eiffel Tower elevators... there are also steps; There are cables hanging... So, you have to work around this.
We created a type of wall that surrounds the entire inside core of Le Jules Verne, behind which all the service is done. It reflects Paris in such a way that even if you have your back to it, you can see Paris perfectly.
In the end, everything is practically designed with lighting effects. You can make the most beautiful decor in the world, but if you've missed the lighting, it's bungled; It doesn't work...
The goal, if there was one, was to convey to Parisians that this restaurant exists... that they surely think -and now wrongly so- that the place is targeted for tourists, that the meal will be bad... that you're paying for the view, period... No, that's not it at all!
The idea is to produce a fantastic restaurant.
This chef has made quite a name for himself in French gastronomy, consistently showing up at the helm of some of the most revered establishments. His group is now putting his signature style on the Eiffel Tower restaurants as well.
If you have a difficult time getting a dinner reservation at Le Jules Verne, try a lunch reservation instead. Or, experience the Eiffel Tower with the other terrific restaurant (58 Tour Eiffel), hassle free and no waiting in line if you remember to purchase tickets in advance.
You've probably already heard how insane the Eiffel Tower tourist lines can get (literally hours to buy tickets and hours to get on elevators). Luckily, you can avoid all that with a pre-paid Paris Orientation Tour + Lunch at the Eiffel Tower + Cruise.
Without it, I would rather enjoy my next Eiffel Tower visit from ground level. Yes, it can be that much of a spoiler losing half your day just trying to get up and down the Iron Lady. Pre-arrange your visit instead.