Les Ombres restaurant on the Quai Branly Museum rooftops in Paris

A restaurant with a view…

Part of Paris’ charm is how very laidback it is about being ostentatious, a nonchalance that borders sometime on thinly-hidden arrogance. Yet, few cities can be so sure of their beauty; Paris is genuinely, effortlessly impressive. It’s also a city of the rich, where anyone who can’t afford the horrific housing prices is forced beyond the city limits to the suburbs (and I don’t have to tell you what Parisians think of the suburbs).

Keeping this in mind, and even despite the fact that I am still wowed by cycling across the Louvre courtyard or seeing the Musée d’Orsay illuminated at night, nothing prepared me for what I was to see at the Les Ombres restaurant.

It’s not the fact that it’s part of the new museum on the Quai Branly, designed by Jean Nouvel (in a modern style that I’m not sure I like at all). It’s just that when you enter the restaurant, perched on the roof, five floors up, you get the most incredible view, close up, of that most clichéd and yet most impressive of Parisian monument; the Eiffel Tower. The museum is only a few hundred metres from it. You could almost reach out and touch it. Surging out from the rooftops, it is visible in all its splendour, through the restaurant’s glass walls and ceiling.

In such a setting, it would be easy to forgive the food for being less impressive. No need. It was as delicious at it looked (check out the photos!). Service is attentive and quick without being stuffy, and the bill, although hardly cheap, was reasonable considering the setting. Our tip for those on a budget would be to go for lunch and stick to the menu.

Most of the diners were very obviously moneyed, hardly a fun crowd (it is a museum after all), but we took our time and tried to enjoy every magic minute; I still keep saying “that view”! Certainly a place to keep in mind for a special treat during a trip to Paris. Don’t forget to book ahead.

Les Ombres Restaurant
220, rue de l’Université 75007 Paris
Tel : 00 33 1 47 53 68 00. Open every day From 12:30am to 03:00pm and from 07:30pm to 10:15pm