Jules Verne Restaurant – A Tarnished Star on the Eiffel Tower

Four hundred feet above Paris, part of super chef Alain Ducasse's string of restaurants, the Jules Verne Restaurant is situated on Level Two of the most iconic landmark in the world — the Eiffel Tower. Although the Jules Verne has been on the tower since at least the early 1980s, it had been in decline until Ducasse took control of the restaurant in 2007.

Ducasse ripped out the old restaurant and started fresh, sending Paris abuzz with a transformation into what was called an "opulent dining room with a soft palette of chocolate brown and amber." Ducasse's famous name contributed to the restaurant's newfound eminence and to the Michelin star it was awarded. There's also the unique, spectacular view of Paris, unlike any other restaurant in the city.

We've written positively about the Jules Verne in the past, but read on…

A Culinary Cautionary Tale

Ruth Reichl

It all sounds great, but armed with new information we're now issuing a travel advisory — You might want to avoid booking a table at the Jules Verne.

Ruth Reichl, the outspoken American food critic and author of several food memoirs, wrote a scathing review of the restaurant. Here's what she had to say about the service, food and ambiance.

Reichl describes her experience as the worst kind of tourist trap — there are no Parisians dining there, ever. It's all tourists searching for a perfect Paris meal but treated with total disrespect.

The only good seats in the dining room are at the windows. If you're not at the window, Reichl said, "you are in a room, dark as a nightclub, facing a black wall, so close to the surrounding tables you can hear them wishing each other happy birthday, transacting business, talking about their homes in White Plains."

Reichl goes on to describe the sad meal as one of the worst she's experienced in Paris and she feels sorry for the diners who really deserve better than the rude service and airplane food that Alain Ducasse is dishing out.

"It was, from start to finish, a miserable experience," Reichl wrote.

So, take a pass on the Jules Verne and opt for one of the stellar luxury restaurants in Paris we recommend.

Booking & Attire at Jules Verne

Jules Verne

With only 120 places available, you need to make your reservation at the Jules Verne restaurant months in advance.

Of course, everyone wants a table by the windows but as you can tell from Reichl's review, that can't be guaranteed. Your best bet is to book early with the request.

Remember, you're in Paris so you want to look good. Men: wear a suit or a sports jacket and trousers. Women: dress up. You don't want to be caught in T-shirts, shorts or casual clothes — they may not let you in.

Le Jules Verne Restaurant Information

Jules Verne

French NameLe Jules Verne

Address – Avenue Gustave Eiffel 75007

• South Pillar, Level 2 (Pilier sud deuxieme etage

Lunch – 12:15 to 1:30 pm, 98€ 3-course menu

Dinner – 7:00 to 9:30 pm, 185€ 5-course menu, 230€ 6-course menu

Make sure you have your printed reservation with you, to present when you arrive at the Eiffel Tower. It's the only way you'll get immediate access to the restaurant's private elevator. By the way – no reservation, no luck!

How to Get There

  • Metro – Bir-Hakeim
    Get a spectacular glimpse of the tower as you cross the river, since this is one of the only Metro lines that runs above ground.
  • Metro – Alma
    You come up out of the Metro next to the Eternal Flame sculpture and walk across the Seine on the Pont d'Alma. Then it's a short but breathtaking walk to the Tower.
  • Metro – Trocadero
    Arrive on the Right Bank, cross the Trocadero plaza and walk across the river.

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