With Parisian eateries now able to open their indoor spaces, I got to thinking about my favourite restaurant interiors. If you’re still fantasising over where you’ll eat your first few post-Covid Parisian meals, here are some gorgeous dining rooms to whet your appetite …
La Tour d’Argent
For a view like this, you’d happily sit on a concrete floor and drink water. But at La Tour d’Argent, of course, the gloriousness inside well matches that beyond the windows.
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole might be an Instagram-favourite, but it’s well worth venturing beyond the famous wisteria-laden façade into the restaurant’s medieval-luxe rooms, which hark back to the building’s early-sixteenth-century heritage.
A multi-level eatery, Pink Mamma serves up a delicious mix of dining and drinking spaces, from eclectic glasshouse to velvety speakeasy.
Le Train Bleu
Whether you’re about to take the TGV south or not, a meal at the Gare de Lyon’s grandiose Le Train Bleu restaurant is a glittering trip in itself.
Make like Madame de Pompadour and revive your over-shopped senses by nibbling macarons while ensconced in velvet and bathed in golden chandelier light. Book ahead to ensure yourself a table upstairs.
Le Grand Véfour
The clientele history of Le Grand Véfour, which opened its gilded Palais-Royal doors in 1784, is as sparkling as the restaurant’s mirrored walls and moulded ceilings: Empress Joséphine, George Sand, Colette, Juliette Gréco … The prices are as steep as you’d imagine, although the 115€ lunch (entrée, main, cheese, dessert) is great value.
The setting is as chic as the prices are cheap. Read more about the Parisian food institution that is the bouillon here, or click over to Bouillon Chartier.
Chez Julien manages to be both relaxed and exquisite, cool yet olde-worlde. Located on the southern edge of the Lower Marais, just a croissant’s throw from Île Saint-Louis, it’s also open for breakfast (croque monsieur à la truffe? oui please!).
You don’t get more fabled than Le Procope. Among its many claims to fame: it’s the oldest café in town, dating back to 1686. These days it’s a restaurant, although its many rooms — book-lined, chandelier-lit, dotted with A-list curios such as a desk once used by Voltaire and a tricorn hat once worn by Napoléon — still take you back to the days when philosophers debated the meaning of life, as much as democracy, fueled by caffeine as much as passion. Le Procope brewed social change along with its coffee; it was here that the future national motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité was coined.
Vegetarians might recoil at the name, but Beefbar is worth a trip for the décor alone, especially the Art Nouveau masterpiece that is the ‘1900 Room’, an officially classified ‘historical monument.’ Good to know: there are seafood and vegetable options on the menu.