France is hardly short of fine restaurants, from the elusive and on a need to know basis to the grand classics towering over the city. If you’re travelling to France, here’s four establishments to put on the corporate card.
If you’re going to put a restaurant on the company card, you might as well go all out. Le Meurice is the quintessence of extravagance and grandeur, you’ll feel like you need to go to a party dress shop and pick up a Marie Antoinette costume to dine here. The attention to detail on the décor is exquisite, with lions carved into your chair arm rests, painted walls that mark the Renaissance, and elaborate chandeliers hanging from the gold gilded ceiling. As you turn your head and gaze out the window you are greeted with an enchanting view overlooking Jardin des Tuileries. Head chef, Alain Ducasse, seeks to reinvent haute cuisine by taking it back to basics and respecting the rhythm of the seasons, when product is at its best. Depending on the season, you might dine on roasted duck foie gras with mango juice and spice thin biscuit or chanterelle mushrooms with vin jaune.
Le Refuge des Fondus
Google Most Bizarre Restaurants and you’re guaranteed to see this venue make the list. Why? They serve wine out of baby bottles. No, this isn’t some weird fixation that the owner and the customers have with teat-topped beverages. It’s their sneaky way of getting around the absurd taxes placed on wine when serving it out of a glass. This is a rowdy fondue joint that can get cozy at times, but it’s the atmosphere that keeps even the cynics coming back time and time again. Like other fondue brasseries, your main options are a boiling pot of cheese with your choice of beef chunks or bread – or both! To further indulge your inner child, you can add to the abundance of graffiti that covers the restaurant walls.
Lost in the maze and tiny alleyways of Paris’ famous flea market Marché aux Puces, Chez Loiusette lies in wait, ready to draw you away from your quiet shopping adventure and toss you into a flamboyant and boisterous 1930’s lunch party. This is Paris’ best kept secret. It’s where strangers come together to join in song, dance and top grub. The live entertainment is non-stop, whether it’s coming from the professionals or the chefs themselves. It’s theatrical and over-the-top, but all in the name of fun; and rumour has it, that Edith Piaf used to sing here in her early days. You will find traditional Parisian cuisine at this fine establishment.
Coming in at number 49 in the World’s Best 50 Restaurants, Septime is one you wouldn’t mind handing the company plastic over to. While you may think, in this minimalism era, that the rules to a top restaurant are criminal prices for a few ambiguous ingredients placed on teeny tiny plates, to be eaten only with tweezers; in this case, Septime is the exception and is proof that you can eat a satisfying meal without going over your credit card limit. Owner, Bertrand Grebaut, who traded in the frilliness of Michelin for country comfort, puts a modern spin on the season’s best products and cooks it to perfection, presenting the elements artfully on the plate.
While there are plenty more restaurants bursting with culinary confidence, we can’t name them all! If you would like to see more of what Frances’ bistros’ have to offer check out http://www.au.fcm.travel/.
Where do you go when you travel to France? Tell us in the comments below.