Saturday, February 23, 2008

A place with a silver dining


There are many high-end restaurants in Paris, but to me, La Tour d'Argent (the Silver Tower) is the most mythical one - and one of the oldest (it was founded in 1582!). It is known not only for its food - and more precisely its "Canard au sang" (duck in blood sauce) - but also for its spectacular view on the river Seine. Of course, La Tour d'Argent also owns what is probably the largest wine cellar in Paris (half a million bottles!) which I have been lucky enough to visit about 10 years ago. Of course a meal there is not exactly cheap (about 120 - 150 € per person including wine), but if you come to Paris for the first time I would definitely book a table there well in advance!

50 comments:

  1. Every time i see your gorgeous black & white shots i resolve to do it myself - and always forget! Great shot Eric. 1st?

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  2. I need to find someone to take me there!!

    I like the angle of this photo very much.

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  3. Such a beautiful photo - please add it to the PDP boutique (stationery, postcard, stamps and magnet please :) )

    I have been trying to decide where to have one of my crazy expensive dinners next time I'm in Paris (last time was Jules Verne). I think it may be this one, although I'll pass on the canard au sang. It sounds a bit too Count Dracula to me!

    Good weekend everyone!!!!

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  4. O! Eric!

    And I mean O! in every sense of the word! *wink*wink*

    Your beautiful photo for today made me gasp out loud.

    But blood sauce? Ewwww.

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  5. Gee 6 messages in 2 minutes!!

    I'm happy that you like this photo because to be honest I've found it pretty hard to take an interesting photo of this restaurant.

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  6. Hey, right in the ghetto, too!
    (Ah, c'mon, you knew that was coming! ;)

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  7. We both posted hotels today Eric. We're on the same wavelength. I just knew it :)

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  8. Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

    I know, tomate, Eric hangs out in the worst places, doesn't he?

    Eric, thank you. This is fabulous! And what a great idea to publish the photo in "silver." You found a pretty angle.

    John and I got to go there in '06 for lunch. Our friends took us; they booked a table by the window looking across the Seine at Notre Dame. The food was good enough, but that's not why you go, even at those prices). Our friend (host) is a wine expert. We were there to "explore" the wine cellar. As soon as the sommelier discovered our friend's expertise, the two of them were in cahoots to give us an experience. I've never before or since tasted such wines.

    We did get a tour of the actual cellar, and it was spectacular. The best thing about La Tour d'Argent, in my opinion.

    I don't know why we didn't get any pictures of it. It was our first day. We were jet-lagged. And a little tipsy. And stunned by the magic.

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  9. That is a beautiful photo. I have never eaten there (yet) but I know someday I will. The closest I have gotten to La Tour is Berthillon down the street.

    ;-)

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  10. Another wonderful place we ate was Pre Catalan in the Bois de Boulogne. Also pricey, but not less stuffy than Tour d'Argent, and the food seemed more adventurous.

    Eric would know better than I do about the food, though. I confess to being a picky eater. John had the pigeon and loved it.

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  11. I better start saving now if I want to give it a try. The experience with the place (I almost cannot beieve it dates back from 1582), the view, the wine cellar tour, it's got to be fantastic.

    I once read a piece about La Tour d'Argent saying that everybody who orders the Canard gets a number which means the number of the duck served. For instance, when Pelé, our famous soccer player, went there, the duck he ate was duck number 1100. Princess Diana got to eat the 1200th duck served there, and so on.

    (I don't remember the exact duck number these celebs got, but, according to that article, if I go there and eat the canard I'll get my own number as a souvenir!)

    Petrea, since you've been there, do you know if this is true?

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  12. Words, words, words,(that bit of Hamlet is for you Lynn) and Food food foooood is for me!
    One vacation, during my summers- off teaching days, I treated myself to lunch at La Tour d'Argent in the 1970's.They gave you a postcard(Do they still do that, Eric?) that recorded , how many ducks have been served, and what number in that historic record your duck dinner was.
    The view is spectacular, but I most remember my cousin ordering melon for an appetizer that cost,for fruit, an enormous sum (at the time) of $5.00.

    Congrats, Lynn ,for the gold, silver and the bronze!!!!

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  13. As you can see, Monica, I was writing while you were writing! Since Diana was playing in her backyard when I went, safe to say they are still handing out the numbered cards. Wish I saved mine.

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  14. Yes ladies, you still get a little card with your duck number on it. I was able to have dinner there once and kept the card, but have since lost it. I'm pretty sure that it wasn't 1101 or 1201, but hey, who knows.

    I agree that the shot in b&w (or silver) is a great way to capture it and everyone should treat themselves once.

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  15. I can see that Phx!

    Here for the real thing, a video inside La Tour d'Argent.
    Note the price of the mineral water

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  16. Welcome back, Michael - are you still sad to be back in Paris??? Can you perform some of your advanced computer magic skills and show us the menu? Merci en avance.

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  17. I have my card in front of me.

    "Le Numéro de votre Canard
    1044106 (depuis 1890)." The painting reproduced on the card is "Frédéric préparant son célèbre Canard." On the back is a small photo taken inside the restaurant at evening, overlooking Ile de la Cité.

    Princess Diana's duck must have been number 120,000 or more.

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  18. A less than appetizing glimpse (depending on one's appetite) of the making of pressed duck at La Tour d'Argent. Be forewarned, it looks kind of like an explosion in a morgue in at least one photo.

    What's really fun is that after hours they do it with a live duck. Just joking.

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  19. Lynn, I forgot to mention: the sommelier at La Tour d'Argent is British. Or at least he was when we were there.

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  20. We ate once at Le Train Bleu. It was just as expensive, but worth every centime.

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  21. And check out their wooden stall bathrooms from another era.

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  22. Monica: I just checked out the video you suggested, and it was hard to pull myself away because I wanted to watch each and every one of them. It truly made my day,thank you so much for sharing your discovery.

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  23. Phx: I actually thought of you when I saw the video. I was sure you would enjoy the other videos as well, I know how much you're into food!

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  24. LOL!! The ghetto...tomate! Must be the 5eme...non?? But it's near the Seine...it's not like it's rue de la Clef or something!! ;-)

    I admit I also have photos of La Tour d'Argent...but my big Paris Birthday was at Taillevent...Thank God I didn't have to pay!! Whewwwww!!

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  25. More to the point, Petrea, is he single? If so, what's he like? ;)

    Thanks Phx for the congrats. I put paid to the quote 'frailty, thy name is woman' huh?

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  26. Psssst! Girls: I must tell you i had the most enchanting but oh-so-brief late night conversation with the elusive ERIC last night, as the moon was disappearing from view. Yes, you may taunt it was a mere few words which fell from his keyboard but poetry they were, in the light of our shared computers while you were all looking the other way.... oh the romance of it... Oh yes, just he and i. Brief...but beautiful. Are you jealous, my dear girlfriends? HE HE I'm mischievous today! See last night's comments if you can bear it.

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  27. Ohhh. Where is everyone? I was only kidding!

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  28. {sigh] This is a lovely photo, even more stunning in black and white, along with the wonderful stories. Oh, to have a reason to wear that flirty dress, with your handsome man escorting you to lunch at La Tour d'Argent, an afternoon spent leisurely strolling the streets of Paris, hand in hand, onto a tender evening...


    Um, think I need to go walk the dogs down at the pasture now. ;)

    Lynn! LOL, a stolen moment with Eric at night? Do tell, do tell ;)

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  29. I ran across this blog through another blog. I really enjoy it. Someday I will travel and take pictures of my own. But I will enjoy yours, for now. Thank You

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  30. A few words on here only Jennifer - yesterday's post comments. We must all fight for crumbs from Eric...sigh... LOL

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  31. Forget that overpriced nonsense. Walk across the street and book a table at the Rotisserie de Beaujolais, 19 quai de Tournelle. 01 43 54 17 47

    Same ownership as the Tour and a fraction of the price. Don't just book ANY table, either -- take the one in the window, curtained off from the rest of the noisy rabble.

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  32. Oh, expat, thank you. I loved the wine cellar at Tour d'Argent, especially the history of it. And the view was lovely. But the food? It was only okay, I thought. I'll take your advice next time I'm in town. I'll miss that wine cellar but enjoy the view from la Rotisserie.

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  33. I believe I've just committed sacrilege.

    Lynn: the sommelier, in May of '06, was a sophisticated and only slightly portly guy of about 50. I don't know if he was single, but he wasn't bad looking.

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  34. I am just back home after a very sunny day, skiing in the Alpes. Blue sky and good snow were perfect! Not sure it will last the whole week...
    Lynn, your message to Eric is very well written and charming : well, I do think so! Maybe, he does too ;)
    An other nice comment is Jenifer's one, as romantic as hell ... On s'y croirait...
    Love that!

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  35. Merci Anonyme! Petrea, well he sounds okay to me... he he

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  36. Aaahh La tour d'argent...sob. I'm too poor to go there. No, I'm too student to go there! LOL.

    Bon appétit à ceux qui iront. (do you notice the jalousy in my "voice"??).

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  37. Lynn said "We must all fight for crumbs from Eric...sigh... LOL"

    Lynn just imagine when Eric really makes it to Hello Magazine (just kidding Eric, I don't wish you that, it would be too embarrassing, n'est ce pas?!)), he'll be a super celeb and we won't hear another word from him!

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  38. I'm going out to the movies now. BTW, tomorrow is Oscar night, I'm rooting for Marion Cotillard for her astonishing performance as Piaf.

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  39. Lynn: The snooper, that's me, OF COURSE went to read your tete a tete with Eric yesterday.
    My thoughts are (what do you mean, Who asked?),that Eric is totally unavailable. I'm not sure about Petra's man, either. He'll be drunk as a skunk before you know it, unless he continues to spit the wine out on his off hours ,too. Very ugly.

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  40. Still haven't seen that film, Monica. Dying to. Yes just imagine Eric as a super-celeb. He'll still be down at the Seine for picnics though i reckon.

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  41. Ha, phx, I hope you meant the sommelier! He seemed sober to me, but I'd been drinking all that wine.

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  42. I don't know of a cheap place to dine in Paris...would love to know if you have some lol. Great b&w photo...Happy to see parts of Paris always!

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  43. I love the photo. The black and white is great and of course the contrast. Interesting side not about this famous restaurant is that it is the basis for the restaurant in the movie Ratatouille. I think it was the sous chef or the head chef which was the food consultant. :)

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  44. g_mirage: Try the Petit Vatel, R. Lobineau, 6eme.
    http://www.fra.cityvox.fr/restaurants_paris/le-petit-vatel_59493/Profil-Lieu

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  45. Yes, it is a mythical landmark restaurant in an outstanding location. In the past we used to stay in a flat owned by an American couple just up the block from it. It always fascinated me.

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