Le Grand Véfour

As lavish and resplendent as any room in Versailles, Le Grand Véfour is an historic, gourmet wonder that has wowed generations of Parisian aristocracy and artistic elite, from Napoleon and Josephine to Hugo, Sartre, Colette and Cocteau. These days it is the style set that swans beneath the glittery, gold-leaf chandeliers where, under the guidance of culinary doyen Guy Martin, fine French fare shines as brilliantly as the neoclassical decor.

Don a number that would make Marie Antoinette weep, and sweep beneath the arches of the Palais Royal to take your pre-reserved perch in the opulent main dining room, awash with red velvet, antique mirrors and garland-fringed frescoes of fruit-bearing nymphs. The seasonal plates are, of course, as artistic and meticulously crafted as the illustration-etched walls, with painterly offerings like duck liver ravioli, roasted Brittany lobster scented with grapefruit, and pigeon prepared the way Prince Rainier III liked it, with foie gras and black truffles. And for pud, the milk chocolate mousse is a bonafide architectural achievement: a tuile-encased tower of salted caramel ice-cream. However, it’s the sweet artichoke crème brûlée that the bon vivant regulars plump for, topped with candied vegetables and bitter almond sherbet. Sublime!

17 rue Du Beaujolais, 1st / +33 1 42 96 56 27 / lunch & dinner Mon-Fri / closed Aug / grand-vefour.com