We liked the pretty music including several memorable arias. The staging was thought provoking. The performance developed at times simultaneously, at least in part, in more than one of the six sections in which the stage was divided for the show. The set up, while novel, was distracting and at times required so much concentration that it detracted from the experience. It was not to our liking. Having children actors in one part of the stage and adult actors playing the same children in another at the same time also made it confusing to know what was going on, and to understand the allegorical meaning of the vignettes in the two stages. Also notable were the bright costumes, especially the eye popping fuchsia sequined evening dress of the witch.
During the intermission, we strolled around the most beautiful areas, admiring the interior and observing the crowd. Many held champagne flutes or light snacks from the various vendors peppered throughout the lobby. The evening view of the long Avenue de l’Opera outside was a treat. When the chimes called for the restart of the performance more than a few seemed almost reticent to abandon their building browsing.
Our dinner at Le Jules Verne restaurant was magical. From the moment we rode the private heated elevator with an escort from the ground floor of the South Pillar, up 125 meters to the restaurant reception half way up the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, we felt special. Although our expectations were high, based on previous visits to the restaurant at France’s most iconic monument, we were delighted with the evening.
We were pleased to have been assigned one of the few coveted window side tables. Below us, thousands of lights twinkled, bringing to mind the words City of Lights as Paris is also known.
As soon as we entered we focused our attention on the restaurant’s partial decorative transformation since our last visit. Armed with a glass each of well chilled rose champagne we set out to discover the reincarnation of Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee. A server brought us complimentary carrot, celery and apple juice with an ice cube, setting the tone for the rest of the healthful meal. Hors d’œuvre bites followed on the heels of a staff person who explained the menu’s cereal, vegetable (produce were brought from the garden of the Chateau de Versailles through an exclusive partnership) and seafood options. While it was possible to order some meat products they were not listed on the regular menu because they were discouraged.
For years I have liked the elegant dining room of Restaurant le Meurice in the eponymous hotel facing one of the city’s best known tourist streets. In 2013, famed chef Alain Ducasse was invited to oversee the food service at the hotel and restaurant. On our most recent trip to Paris, we had lunch there and were left with the impression that the restaurant has much promise.
Since our last visit we noticed subtle changes. For example, access to the restaurant was via the entrance foyer of the hotel rather than from the lobby lounge where it had been before. A new embroidered panel graced a section near the restaurant door, and Baccarat crystal art was in evidence in the dining room.
In a city that is home to 50 Five Star hotels, many of them so firmly entrenched in their luxury status that they have long become legends, the relatively new Le Burgundy (opened in 2010) stood out for its privileged location first of all, on a relatively quiet street just a few steps away from Place Vendome, Rue Royale and Rue Saint-Honore, in the enclave of prestigious Right Bank addresses that are the pulse of Paris fashion. Then there was its already established reputation for personalized service, the kind only an intimate boutique hotel can provide. This was confirmed the instant I reached the property, by the doorman’s attentive welcome and the instantaneous check in process. I barely had time for a passing glance at the glassed in winter garden that is the heart of the public spaces or the art gallery like reception area with its bright mural sculpture behind a long white leather and marble reception desk before I was graciously escorted to my suite.