Previous and future posts in this trip report:
4. Eiffel Tower
6. Café Kleber Trocadero and The Eiffel Tower At Night
7. Lufthansa New Business Class, Upstairs On The 747-8i
Wrapping up our last (and second) day in Paris, we thought it would be best to find a restaurant somewhere on Champs Elysees or nearby. I had researched a few restaurants that we wanted to try during our trip but none of them were near enough to the tower that we would make it there for an early-in-the-night viewing of the light show. We had heard that the light show was only 5 minutes long, cut down from 10 minutes back in 2008. So, timing was important if we didn’t want to wait an hour.
I needed a restaurant recommendation and we happened to be standing in the lobby of the Westin Paris-Vendome. I thought I could borrow a quick tip from the concierge at the Westin. It’s certainly not a published benefit of my Platinum status with Starwood, but the concierge was happy to help. He gave us a recommendation for a restaurant right next to the Trocadero, an easy 5-minute walk to one of the best places to view the night show. The restaurant was called Le Coq. We headed off in a taxi as the sun set over the Eiffel Tower.
The old age “you get what you pay for” quickly came to roost. We pulled up in front of Le Coq and didn’t get the greatest vibe from it. There was a large outdoor seating area and we could hear music from the outside. We had asked the concierge for a family-friendly option. This didn’t seem to be it. We ventured inside just in case we were wrong and sat down. The menu looked fine, but the atmosphere was more strip club than family restaurant. I’m sure it could have been a fine place to dine, just not what we were looking for with our 7-year old.
Without a lot of time, we walked outside to find another choice. On the adjacent corner was a restaurant that looked a lot brighter. As we got closer, it struck both Michelle and I like a diner of sorts. Inside it felt that way as well, but the food was certainly better than diner fare. The restaurant was called Cafe Kleber. We told the waiter we were in a bit of a hurry and asked if he could assist in getting our food out quickly. Michelle ordered french onion soup and a salad, Catherine wanted a steak and I ordered duck breast.
The soup and salad were both fine, as was the steak. I wasn’t expecting a high quality piece of duck, but boy was I surprised! The temperature was a perfect medium rare (maybe even a medium rare minus). The sauce was quite good. It was a simple presentation, the temperature was perfect. I enjoyed every bite with Michelle and Catherine each having a taste. Our waiter made sure we had our check and we were out the door exactly 5 minutes before the top of the hour.
Sometimes it doesn’t take glamour to impress. The restaurant was casual, the table close together. But, the pricing was reasonable, the service was friendly and quick, the food was prepared exactly as requested and all enjoyable.
We set out from the restaurant to the top of the steps at Trocadero, a great place to watch the light show. We walked up the first set of steps and could see the tower lit up. My daughter started to ask when the show would start but before she could finish, right at the top of the hour the tower started to sparkle! I’ll let the pictures and the video paint the rest of the picture.
The tower light show was the perfect finish to our whirlwind Paris trip. We piled into a taxi to get back to the hotel. Place Vendome looked both brilliant and a bit ominous in the evening (shades of Da Vinci Code).
The Park Hyatt was a welcome sight after a long day. It would be a short but restful night of sleep.