“To partake of two luncheons in one day would not be liberty. It would be liscense” – Oscar Wilde
It’s 1pm, on a sunny Thursday afternoon. I am now alone at a secret hideaway in Paris – Oscar Wilde last home. I am sitting at Le Restaurant which used to be the courtyard of his private residence, looking at my menu finding the right wine to match, yet, couldn’t stop reminiscing Mr. Wilde hanging out with his book in the swinging sixties.
It may be the place where Oscar Wilde quipped his last, but this hotel on Paris’ arty Left Bank, is so much more than a fin-de-siècle artifect. Situated in the cultural bohemian soul side (I usually divide St-Germain into the shopping side and the gallery culture side) of St-Germain-Des-Pres, it was the heart of Parisian society in the sixties, and it has remodelled by renowned designer Jacques Garcia. With a glamorous underground pool, a Michelin-starred restaurant “Le Restaurant” and a bar beloved of the French capital’s style set, it is as much of a destination stay as ever.
Le restaurant is bright with light passing into the salon through it’s roof window, however, I can imagine it can be dark and romantic salon during the night. Lunch menu is such a great deal, 32 euro for a main course; 42euro for either appetizer+main/main+desert or the one am taking 52euro for a full 3 courses menu. While 5 dishes degustation with 3 wine is 130 euro per person; 7 dishes with 4 wine is 160euro.
In contrast to the traditional menu I had the night before at Le Relais Louis XIII, where Manuel Martinez whom claims his artisan status, defending a simple cuisine, conceived in the great French tradition, Head chef Julien Monbabut here at Le Restaurant creates menu that is seasonal, classically french with a distinctive light, modern touch. The food is delicious with eye pleasing presentation that is femininely romantic yet delicate. My lunch took me 3 plus hours of this sunny afternoon with my book from Shakespear & Co., while it surely doesn’t feel it’s too long hour spend. It is pure indulgent, even you may not have a partner to go with you in Paris, I would definitely suggest you to head to Le Restaurant and treat yourself good few hours there with Mr. Wilde.
- Dress Smart with a hint of loucheness – think taffeta dresses and your best jacket.
- Ask for a table in the corner, so you can discreetly observe the comings and goings of your fellow diners. If the weather is fine, a place out on the small patio is a must.
- Avoid the hotel reception! Despite the service at Le Restaurant is close to perfect, the hotel receptionist (or just my bad luck!) was terribly arrogant and stiff, like the old french. Stay away if possible, don’t let it ruin your meal!
“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it… I can resist everything but temptation.”- Oscar Wilde
L’Hôtel 13 rue des Beaux-Arts, 75006 Paris