Saturday, 18 June 2016
Dinner at Arpege in Paris - 19th in The Worlds Best Restaurants List
Paris is, as anyone who reads this will know, one of my favourite and most visited cities. Pack your raincoat (you’ll probably need it) your trainers and your heels, and set off for one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world.
I travelled by Eurostar – which arrived early – and then by taxi. I always book in coach 17 or 18 which arrive at the Gare du Nord first putting you quickly into the taxi queue which I have seen stretch a long, long way. You have been warned.
Happily at Arpege again for a birthday celebration, not mine, I might add, the restaurant was packed by 8.30pm. Happily again we arrived early which it’s well worth doing. Arpege is always full of locals celebrating and visitors to Paris such as I was from anywhere in the world. Anyone who loves great food and is interested in the very best restaurants will be interested in one treat such as this.
Arpege specialises in vegetables, which chef Alain Passard has made its centrepiece since 2001. All the vegetables served come from his gardens. If you don't like perfectly cooked fresh veg choose somewhere else.....
When you book request a table on the main floor, not downstairs, unless you like being stuck in the basement. I happen not to, even if the food is wonderful. Whatever you choose from the menu will be a) expensive and b) exquisite and you can split dishes with a friend or partner as you want to which enables you to try more.
There is an extensive wine list as you would expect. If you’re watching the pennies, and basically this is one of those restaurants where if you have to ask you shouldn’t really be there, settle for a glass of pink fizz then wine by the glass.
Where to walk off your meal at Arpege...
On a sunny morning in the centre of Paris and if you feel like a bit of exercise outside rather than going to the gym (as you do of course) put on your trainers and head to the Tuileries Garden. You won’t be alone. You can walk or run round the gardens, up to the Louvre and back, across the Place de la Concorde and towards the Champs Elysees. So basically as far as you want.
The main drag is a wide, tree bordered track used by many for running, walking or just a stroll. It’s the perfect place to be particularly if you’ve over indulged the night before. When the sun is out you can sit in one of the chairs at the side of the pond and just relax.
On the Rue de Rivoli, which runs along the Gardens, stop for a quick coffee at L’Imperial, long my favourite coffee place, you can have a full meal here as well. I love the red and black decor, and the excellent service. After all, you can visit Starbucks anywhere……