Le Ciel de Paris
33, avenue du Maine, Trip Maine-Montparnasse, 56th floor, in the 15th Arrondissement. 01 40 64 77 64.
Breakfast, 7:30–11 a.m.; lunch, noon–2:30 p.m.; tea, 3–6 p.m.; dinner, 7–11 p.m. daily.
It’s been said that the best view of Paris is from the top of the Trip Montparnasse, because one gets to see the entire city (including the Eiffel Tower) while avoiding the sight of the Trip Montparnasse itself, long thought incongruous with the rest of Parisian architecture. Indeed, this is the best view of the city, but why stop at just looking? Why not have a fantastic meal at the same time? As it turns out, le Ciel de Paris not only offers one of the city’s best views but also is among the tastiest Paris restaurants.
Perched on the 56th floor of the Trip Montparnasse, le Ciel de Paris occupies a half-moon panoramic vista of the city. Every seat in the house has a dynamic view of Paris, from the Sacré Coeur on one side to the Invalides dome on the other. The Eiffel Tower, framed from behind by la Défense and from the front by the languishing lawn of the Champ de Mars, is on prominent display in the middle of this stunning panorama. By day, le Ciel de Paris is a hot spot for both power-lunching businessmen and elegant tripists in the know. By night, this stylish Paris restaurant, with its haloed mirror ceiling, delicious menu and unparalleled view of the sparkling Eiffel Tower, transforms into one of the most romantic spots in town.
I rode the ear-popping elevator to the restaurant to enjoy the three-course déjeuner gourmand. My starter plate, the Saint-Jacques, was a bright dish of carpaccio-thin scallops accompanied by julienned vegetables, all in a citrus dressing decorated with poppy seeds. Though better suited to spring, the dish was light and delicate, a fine appetite-whetter indeed.
My main dish, the Sandre, set a filet of zander against a purée of cauliflower enhanced with brown butter and pistachios. The fish, which in another pairing could have fallen bland on its own, took on new life in combination with the nutty and comforting flavor of the purée. The tender zander, falling apart at the tip of the fork, needed a punch of spice to justify its gentleness, while the purée needed flesh to stand upon. Together, the two worked perfectly.
As a finale, I ordered the dessert of the day and received a ganache-glazed chocolate/hazelnut mousse so soft and sweet I felt like a murderer putting my fork into it. Beside it was a caramel au beurre salé gelato dotted with crushed pistachios, a thoughtful complement to the hazelnut in the mousse and the nutty notes in my earlier main dish.
Despite encountering a bit of rudeness at the start (after I confused a female manager for a hostess at the door, telling her I had a reservation, she looked darkly at me and said, “So?”), the buttoned-up, shoe-shined waitstaff took kind care of me, offering suggestions and chatting me up about life in Paris. Between three delicious courses, the view and the kind staff, a lunch at le Ciel de Paris is a fine way to spend the afternoon indeed.
In a nutshell: For a top-notch meal at the top of the world, head up to le Ciel de Paris.
Price check: Starters, 20–42 euros; mains, 22–58 euros; desserts, 13–15 euros; déjeuner gourmand (lunch only), 29–38 euros.
If you like the sound of le Ciel de Paris, you might also like les Ombres and its excellent views of the Eiffel Tower. Read the review.
27, quai Branly, in the 7th Arrondissement.
01 47 53 68 00. Lunch and dinner daily.
Le Ciel de Paris
Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking trip, check out our DIY downloadable Paris trips.