Next time you visit Paris, why go to a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower when there are restaurants actually in the Eiffel Tower? Le Jules Verne restaurant is a pricey indulgence under the direction of a French chef who ranks among the world's most decorated. Another tower restaurant has buffet grab-and-go items for tourists in a rush. And a casual third eatery is pitched somewhere in between. At the very top, a Champagne Bar offers the ultimate indulgence.
Le Jules Verne
Some 400 feet above Paris on the second floor of the south pillar of the Eiffel Tower, Chef Alain Ducasse's restaurant carries a Michelin star, so guests expect to be as impressed by the food and service as they are by the view. Unsurprisingly, there's a price tag – around $250 per person – attached to the Experience, the name given to the five- or six- course dinner tasting menu. Alternatively, spend a bit less and see the City of Light by day during a three-course lunch, served weekdays only. The good news is that pre-selected wine pairings are included, and guests can skip the long lines for Eiffel Tower admission. Named for the 19th-century French science fiction writer, Le Jules Verne is a coveted space with 120 seats, providing unsurpassed views for those lucky enough to get a window table. There are no guarantees, however, as these tables are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant
One floor down, Chef Alain Soulard's Eiffel Tower dining experience at 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant is less formal than Le Jules Verne. Come with or without a reservation. Furnished in minimalist style with an open kitchen, 58 Tour Eiffel puts a smaller dent in the wallet – lunch begins at about $50 per person. At midday, this is a family restaurant where orders are delivered in chic metal picnic baskets. By night, the room is transformed into a brasserie where children are welcome. Two seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. start at about $100 per person inclusive of a bottle of wine. A costlier premium menu gets a guarantee of a window table overlooking Trocadero, the preferred view. Take a peek at Paris from above through the glass floor on the first floor.
Buffet Tour Eiffel and Macaroon Bar
Pizza, sandwiches and hot dogs are the casual sort of food served at three Buffet outlets on the esplanade, first floor and second floor of the Eiffel Tower. Counter service and wrapped items from the supermarket-style chiller are quick and easy for a bite on the spot or on the go. Open weekdays only from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. For those with a sweet tooth, Macaroon Bar is the second-floor spot to find those delicate French pastel cookies.
When getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower is really what it's all about, celebrate the 905-foot ascent with a glass of bubbly at Bar à Champagne. There's no food up here, just incredible views and French Champagne. Don't be disappointed by the rather odd hours; the bar is open from 12 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. and from 6:15 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.