My first post is about a restaurant in Paris, because the question I get asked most often is, “where was that photo taken?”
Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m planner. I can be spontaneous and even irresponsible at times, but when something is important to me, I’m well prepared.
I read TripAdvisor reviews for hours, make detailed packing lists (only if it’s a big trip abroad) and one time I even tried to find out what food was being served on my flight ahead of time. More about that here.
Finding the right restaurant in Paris was no exception. I spent hours researching online before I decided on Les Ombres.
Here’s the background: While planning a trip to Belgium for my Goddaughter’s christening, her mother (my cousin) and I decided that we’d do a girls night in Paris while I was over there. Casual, right?
A benefit of having family centrally located in Europe is that I can visit them and also do road trips (or take the train) to other countries, like France. In this case, my cousin drove us from Antwerp, Belgium through the French countryside.
It would be her first night away from her four-month old daughter, Mollie, so I wanted it to be special. With just one night out, I was looking for a nice restaurant. I prioritized finding the best view of the Eiffel Tower over award-winning food. I’m not a foodie, but seeing the beauty of this world takes my breath away.
Since I get so many questions about this gem, I thought I’d save you the hours of research that I did and provide the details for anyone else who’d like to have a special night out.
First, I’d recommend making a reservation a few weeks in advance, probably further in advance if it’s a holiday such as Valentine’s Day. I made a reservation through The Fork, which is the European version of Open Table.
I looked up the time of sunset on the day we’d be there and made a reservation accordingly. If that’s not neurotic planning, I don’t know what is. But it paid off, because just look at the view.
My tip for planning a visit to any rooftop bar or restaurant is to factor in when the sun will set. You can get some of the best views during that time.
At Les Ombres, you’re given a two-hour time slot for your meal, and we ordered from a prix fix menu when we arrived. The food was four of five courses (I can’t remember exactly), starting with a macaroon, appetizers and some small plates, an entree and a dessert. We ordered a drink with dinner, which is not included in the price.
By the time our two-hour window was over, we were sufficiently stuffed and it was completely dark outside. So we ordered another drink to take to the terrace, which they were happy to accommodate. They won’t kick you out, you just can’t stay at your table.
We sat on a couch outside and took in the view of the twinkling Eiffel Tower at night.
The total cost of the meal, plus two drinks, was 120 Euros each. If this seems expensive, I’ll explain why it’s actually a great deal. You can see the Eiffel Tower for free, of course, but when you sit at the base you’re on wet grass (it was built on marshy land), you’re susceptible to the weather, and there are no free restrooms (as of the last time I went).
To enjoy this view, with air conditioning and access to clean restrooms, is worth it.
Do I sound awful talking about things like air conditioning and free restrooms? I’m sure I do, but I studied abroad in Paris and I remember the pain of not having access to a toilet. Pain = some funny looking dances while running back to the dorm at the end of the day.
So you get to view the Eiffel Tower for hours, in comfort, and on top of that you get a nice dinner and two drinks, with access to the terrace as long as you’d like, all for 120 Euros.
The dress code is casual, but we wore dresses. We saw other people arrive in shorts and t-shirts, although they were eating on the earlier side. The guests arriving later in the evening were dressed nicer. So if you go before 7 p.m., you’ll be fine dressed casually. After 7 p.m., I’d recommend getting your heels out, ladies. With sport coats for the men.
In conclusion: I hated it.
Just kidding, I recommend this place to all of my friends.
As I mentioned, I did a study abroad program in Paris, so I have more blogs planned with my recommendations for the city. Be on the lookout for blogs about hot spots in Paris, places that are less well known, and a review of the hotel I stayed at on my most recent visit, Hotel du Cadran. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
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