Our visit to Ciel de Paris at the Tour Montparnasse was one of the features in followsummer's 9 Things to do Off the Beaten Path in Paris.
It was an unusually rainy, soggy spring day in Paris…
the kind of gloomy day you just want to roll over in your comfy, cozy, garret room and sip another café '”flat white” in your over-stuffed bed. However, rolling over was not an option as we had a much anticipated lunch date at the wonderful Ciel du Paris (hosted by the charming Julie and Patrick from the Elior Group) to take in the view and savour a fabulous lunch. Umbrellas up, we hopped on the number 13 metro, direction Châtillon-Montrouge to the 15th and were soon flying up the Tour Montparnasse. Built in the heady days of the early 1970s in the International Mid-Century Modern Style — and until 2011 the tallest skyscraper in France — the Tour Montparnasse's simple architecture, large proportions and monolithic appearance have often been criticized for being out of place in Paris's urban landscape. Many Parisians still snigger, "the best thing about the view from the Tour Montparnasse is that it is the only place in Paris that you can't see the Tour Montparnasse!" Poor Tour Montparnasse: the skyscraper accused of defacing Paris. As a result, two years after its completion the construction of buildings over seven stories in Paris proper was banned.
The lobbies and elevators have that definitive early 1970's dated Carrera Marble feel but designer and interior architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance has spectacularly re-imagined the main and private dining rooms of the Ciel de Paris, offering exquisite 56th floor “Grand Screens” viewing feasts (whatever the weather) of the Eiffel Tower, Champs de Mars, and final street plan of the Paris of today after Haussmann re-imagined it. Pair that with the exquisite food by Chef Christophe Marchais and the decadent desserts (ohh those Parisians LOVE their dessert!) of Pastry Chef Baptiste Methivier and you have indeed a feast for all your senses. Starched, pure-white linens push our eye towards the Grand Screens and today’s grey and wet, changeable Paris views. Shining glass and tableware reflect up on sculptural, sensual circular mirrors, strategically placed at the very edge of the room by Duchaufour-Lawrance. These mirrors also reflect back the lunch-time daylight and in the evening, the starry, romantic City of Lights skyline making the rotating beacon of that 'other' Tour your focus (the one Mr. Eiffel made so famous).
Our Feast for the Senses:
Tièdes en vinaigrette
Oeuf mollet, artichaut poivrade & tomate confite
Served warm, soft boiled egg, artichoke, sun dried tomato
Petits légumes de printemps cuits & crus
Caillé de chèvre frais & pignon de pin
Raw & cooked, fresh goat cheese & pine nuts
Salade d'herbes folles & coleslaw de jeunes carottes
Vinaigrette truffée, fleur de caviar séchée
Herbs salad, multi-colored baby carrots coleslaw,
Truffle dressing, dried caviar beads
Grande assiette dégustation
Poêlé, mi-cuit et marbré aux fruits exotiques
Spécial Ciel de Paris Foie gras tasting
Dégustation de jeunes légumes printaniers
Jardins de Pays
Selection of spring vegetables
sourced by local gardens within 200 km of Paris
T BONE DE VEAU
Cuit à basse température, puis rôti
Bouquetière de petits légumes printaniers
VEAL T BONE
Cooked at low temperature & roasted
Baby spring vegetables, morel mushroom sauce
Deutz Blanc de Blancs Millésime Champagne / Beaune du Château Premier Cru Dom. Bouchard Père & Fils / Chablis Premier Cru les Vaillons Dom. William Fevre
And for dessert:
A hand-picked tasting selection of Chef Methivier's favorites!
(Rumour has it that Chef Methivier will soon be crossing the pond and spreading some of his sweet, decadent dessert love here in Canada. Lucky us!)
The gloom and the rain of the start of the day has been washed aside by our third bottle of wine, the delightfully attentive, but not obtrusive service of staff, their recommended wine pairings, extensive explanations of the exceptional food and lovely sense of humour. “Paris is a feast,” said Earnest Hemingway and the Ciel de Paris provided a mighty feast indeed, sending us happily back out into the rain, with each and every one of our senses delightfully satisfied.