Archive for January, 2011
Many clients ask our opinion of the pricey Jules Verne restaurant in the second level of the Eiffel Tower. Is it worth the money? Isn’t it a tourist trap? Is it really a wonderful experience? Isn’t it over-priced? The answer to all of those questions is: yes.
Despite the agonizing, the Jules Verne remains a unique and exceptionally agreeable experience. Yes, it is touristy—you can not find a place in Paris that is more so. That does not matter. The setting is unique, iconic and indescribably romantic. The cuisine is also superb. What remains to resolve is the cost, for which there is no solution: it is indecently expensive. But, at the end of the day, it is worth it, because nothing in the world can replace it. How often will you be in Paris, anyway? So, stuff your wallet and enjoy.
Even if your trip is months away, be sure to book your table on line, now: do not procrastinate. The available tables disappear in a wink. You can do the booking at their online website at: http://www.restaurants-toureiffel.com. If your booking is not confirmed for the date and time you request, try to finesse it by advancing backward or forward your requested time in half hour increments—or change the date. And don’t forget to request a table by a window. All of their tables have views, but being next to one is special.
Living in Paris gives us many wonderful choices for dining, so it can sometimes be a dilemma to choose among them and give specific recommendations. That is not the case with the Jules Verne: there is nothing that can replace it. Moreover, if you go there for lunch during the week, you can reduce the cost by choosing their set meal, which is—for them—a bargain.
Finally, do not forget that, as noted in an earlier post, having a booking at the Jules Verne entitles you to the use of their elevator to get to the second platform of the tower, without having to buy elevator tickets. Avoiding the queues to get that far is already a value in its own right. After your meal, you can also buy tickets on the second platform to use the elevators to reach the third level, directly from vending machines on the second platform, for which there is never much of a queue.
Many of our clients ask us, before they arrive in France, what they can expect in the way of weather, so that they can pack accordingly. The short answer is: everything.
In the good old days, when the weather here was predictably unpredictable, we used to say that our springs are hopelessly unpredictable (might be gorgeous, or might be cold and damp) all the way until summer. Nor could one count much on the summer weather, until August. July might bring warm weather, or more of the cold and damp.
We would add that the most reliable part of the year is the second half of August until the middle of October, when we often have lovely Indian summers. To finish the subject we would observe that winters set in sometime during the course of November, and are usually not too severe, with temperatures rarely dropping below zero (particularly in Paris).
In the last few years all of this has changed to become even more unpredictable: our recent winters have been uncharacteristically severe and our summers colder and damper than they used be. Our springs and autumns, however, remain pretty much the way they used to be. When you boil it all down, you are left with only one period when the weather in France is predictably nice: the Indian summers.
There are seven jet streams (sometimes more) that converge over the North Sea, the interplay of which produces our weather. Foreseeing the result is something so devilishly difficult to predict as to relieve our weathermen of any pretence of responsibility for their dismal predictive records.
Now that we have convinced you that the weather in France can not be known in advance, that it has become unpredictably unpredictable, what are you supposed to pack on your next trip to France? Take the season you are in, and note the one that came before and the one that will follow. Be prepared for all three.
Also be prepared for precipitation and fair weather. Above all, plan on dressing in layers that you can add on or peel off so that you can easily adapt to what you get. Finally, console yourself with the thought that, if you don’t like the weather, you will only have to wait a few minutes for it to change.
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