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Food Finds

Remarkable French restaurants steps away from the sights

The dining room at Jules Verne, in the Eiffel Tower.SARA DROWER/Sara drower

PARIS — On a quick trip to France, food lovers will want to make every meal count, but, of course, there are all those sights to see. There’s no need to sacrifice memorable meals for attractions. These finds are either close by or on the grounds of several top sites.

At the Eiffel Tower, a reservation at Jules Verne gets you not only a Michelin-starred meal, but also a private, line-free elevator ride up the tower, and a luxurious retreat from high winds, making that attraction even more attractive. At all these establishments, consider lunch instead of dinner to enjoy the same experience at a fraction of the cost. Internet reservations are easy and a must to ensure a table.


Spring Restaurant (near the Louvre) When Chicago native Daniel Rose opened Spring in 2006, open kitchens were a rarity in Paris, as were Americans opening restaurants there. Rose and Spring are getting trans-Atlantic buzz from the ultra-imaginative spin he puts on the season’s freshest ingredients. So fresh in fact, that Rose hand-wrote our menu only after we finished. Our multicourse dinner was seafood-centric: oysters and gravlax with flavors and colors that popped like works of art. Worth the 10-minute walk from the Louvre, Spring serves a three-course lunch menu Wednesday to Friday from noon-2, for about $65 per person.  6 rue Bailleul, 011-33-1-45-96-05-72,

Jules Verne (in the Eiffel Tower) Panoramic views from 410 feet aloft, massive iron lattice arches, and enormous turning elevator gears, along with funky Space Odyssey-style decor all work to evoke Paris’s past and future simultaneously. The food does the same with Alain Ducasse’s modern updates of French classics like foie gras and brioche. Glance away from the view to your plate to appreciate that the golden, salted pommes soufflés are engineered to be tower-shaped. The $122 per person three-course prix-fixe weekday lunch is the way to go, with seatings from noon-1:30 (bank holidays excluded).  2d floor, Eiffel Tower 011-33-1-45-55-61-44,


Gordon Ramsay au Trianon (Versailles) Versailles is under 40 minutes by car or rail from Paris, and after touring the gilded grounds of Louis XIV, you may want to dine like a king. This is easily done less than a mile away at modern-day despot Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin two-star restaurant in the four-star hotel, Trianon Palace. The clean, bright flavors and presentation of a dish like the pan-fried John Dory coupled with the airy light of the dining room are a nice respite from Baroque Château de Versailles. Prix-fixe lunch is noon-2:30, Fridays and Saturdays, for $118 per person. 1 Boulevard de la Reine, Versailles 011-33-1-30-84-55-55,

Restaurant Georges (Pompi-dou Center, National Museum of Modern Art) On the top floor of the city’s modern art mecca, Restaurant Georges (Pompidou’s first name) gives you the feeling that you haven’t left the exhibition space, with crazy organic-shaped metallic structures that separate seating areas and a George Jetson-style bar. This isn’t your typical museum cafeteria, with an a la carte menu including grilled turbot with Bernaise sauce and lobster ravioli. Don’t be surprised if you encounter some service lapses, just relax and enjoy the spectacular landscapes — both exterior and interior. Closed Tuesdays, entrees $27-$54. Pompidou Center, 6th floor, 011-33-1-44-78-47-99,

Denise Drower Swidey can be reached at