Provencal Wine Tour! Eating The Eiffel Tower! French Food And Wine Memories!

Paris City Of Lights

Paris! City Of Lights!

It is still my favorite city in the world….located in country with some of the greatest wines ever produced…many of them in vineyards like this one in the Chateauneuf du Pape region of Provence…

Whether you go for a tour of French wine country – and there are several to choose from – or you stay in Paris and enjoy sights like this:

Paris Eiffel Tower

France is a great country to explore – eating and drinking is such an adventure – and here are two such adventures that Alex and I went on…

Say hello to the vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape!

Everyone has an adventure of a lifetime…for us, it was a wine-tasting drive through one of the most beautiful places in the world…Provence!

And Gigondas To You, Too!

This is the view from Gigondas – if you don’t know it, you soon will – there is so much beauty from afar – and so much up close as well – like these beautiful provencal olive trees!

Welcome To Provence…

There is nothing more exhilarating than a driving trip through Provence, and in many ways, a drive back in time – because these villages of Provence live in a world of suspended animation – classic old cobblestone streets where cars aren’t allowed, and time never catches up…

The key is to rent a car and just drive…and stop in small town after small town to pose for pictures that prove you were there, like we did in Seguret…

First stop, Gigondas…a French wine Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region of France. Being a little brother of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the wine is moderately prestigious and can yield beautiful results when treated with care.

Nestled in the rocks above rolling fields of vines, Gigondas is surrounded by grapes…and when you head into town, there are plenty of shops and restaurants to try their wines…but it is also a beautiful little town to explore – like their many ancient ruins…

What makes it such a special place is that they make great wine, have fun restaurants and wine tasting rooms, and it is all set amid the ancient walls of the village:


Time now to get back in the car and drive twenty minutes to our next destination:

The small village of Seguret is even smaller than Gigondas – but it is still full of restaurants, such as the one that offered this unique option for Whiskey:

I didn’t order the Whiskey Baby, choosing to enjoy the local wine instead – and we met a local winemaker who spend a lot of time with us…telling us how he grows and harvests his grapes, making a few hundred cases of wine a year, to sell to people like us, who taste with him and then load up with way too much to get back home…

Seguret is built against a hill, so you can take lots of pictures of the beautiful countryside beyond you, which of course we did:

Orange Is In Ruins!

Let’s head now down the road a half hour or so and check out Orange, a commune in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region – known for their Roman ruins…and a miniature version of the Rome Coliseum:

It’s a beautiful structure – smaller than Rome’s – open to the public to explore and enjoy…

You can wander the ruins, take lots of pictures, and sit down to imagine what it was like to see a “show” there…

The original Roman Orange was founded in 35 BC by veterans of the Second legion as Arausio (after the local Celtic water god), or Colonia Julia Firma Secundanorum Arausio in full, “the Julian colony of Arausio established by the soldiers of the second legion.” The name was originally unrelated to that of the orange fruit, but was later conflated with it…and there you go…

The town itself is unmemorable – you go to Orange for one reason, to see the ruins and sit in their version of the Rome Coliseum, which we did of course…

Avignon – Talk About Your “Bridge To Nowhere!”

Then it was back in the car and into the region’s largest city – Avignon…

Avignon is bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river, which gives you one of the city’s most unique attractions…

Over 90,000 people live in the city, with about 12,000 living in the ancient town center surrounded by its medieval ramparts. Here we are with some of those medieval ramparts behind us…

Often referred to as the “City of Popes” because of the presence of popes from 1309 to 1423 during the Catholic schism, it is currently the largest city and capital of the département of Vaucluse. Avignon is one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts, and has, as you would expect, old Roman ruins as well…

Avignon’s Bridge To Nowhere…

Avignon has a beautiful historic center, and the bridge of Avignon – the “bridge to nowhere” – for you see, it just ends halfway across the river…

Yep, the bridge ends right there – and you can walk out onto it and gaze across at the far side of the river…and wonder why they never finished it…don’t worry, the story is right there to read…

Avignon is where the bullet train from Paris arrives in Provence, under three hours from Paris…it’s very convenient and a beautiful trip, and from here you rent a car and head out to explore…including the greatest area of all for wine lovers:

Tasting and Touring Chateauneuf du Pape!

The village and three other surrounding communes produce wine, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region. It’s less than a half hour from Avignon, which makes the region very convenient for exploring…

Before wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. began promoting them, the wines of Châteauneuf were considered rustic and of limited appeal in the U.S. However, his influence increased their price more than fourfold in a decade. And you can drive right up to them and get shots of the vineyards…

The town itself is a beautiful town full of tasting rooms…you park your car and walk through the town’s center, stopping off at tasting room after tasting room….

You can spend hours wandering the streets, having a great meal and tasting great wines…

And since every trip to France begins in Paris, here is our culinary adventure at the iconic:

Eiffel Tower!

Paris Eiffel Tower

It is, of course, one of the greatest structures ever made – and one of the best places to visit when you are in Paris – here are two great reasons!

The View!
First, how can you beat this view from the second level of the Eiffel Tower:

Eiffel Tower view from Jule Verne restaurant

Second, The Jules Verne Restaurant!

As you look up at the beautiful Eiffel tower, note the second level. That is the main viewing deck – and it is ALSO the Michelin 2-star Jules Verne restaurant that sits right on top of it!

Eiffel Tower Paris restaurants

Paris Jules Verne restaurant

How Do You Get To The Restaurant?

The great thing about eating at Jules Verne is you take a private elevator to the restaurant, and therefore you can avoid the long lines that form to get to the observation deck!

Paris Eiffel Tower secrets

And yes, when you go to the Jules Verne restaurant, you go straight up the middle of the tower!

Eiffel tower Jules Verne

As you get ready to board, you notice that it looks like you are about to go on a roller coaster!

Eiffel Tower Paris travel secrets

Eiffel Tower secrets

And then you arrive – and Jules Verne is a very beautiful restaurant – very formal and classy…and yes, expensive as well, but the food is terrific – and I am about to show you…here is Alex as we waited for a glass of champagne…

Jules Verne restaurant Paris travel

Our table was right against the window – because of the structure of the tower, you will see steel beams outside, but there are plenty of great views of Paris from your table:

Eiffel Tower travel secrets

Eiffel Tower Paris observation deck

As you can see from the picture above, just below where we ate lunch is the observation deck – for me, that is why Jules Verne is such a good idea – you see everything from inside with great food to boot!

Time to check out the menu – Jules Verne is one of acclaimed French Chef Alain Ducasse’s restaurants, so the food is imaginatively prepared and beautiful to look at – and, as you can see, pricey:

Jules Verne restaurant menu

The “Amuse Bouche”:

After champagne, we were brought a great starter – fresh pea served atop a pea puree and herbs:

Jules Verne amuse bouche pea dish

Jules Verne Paris amuse bouche peas

Then it was onto our appetizers:

I started with crab and minutely diced vegetables, topped with a touch of crunchy marinated turnip…

Jules Verne crab dish paris

Here was Alex’s appetizer – butter-poached langoustines topped with a tempura french bean and diced vegetables:

Jules Verne restaurant langoustine

Jules Verne Paris menu

As great as the food tasted, and as you can see it was also immaculately presented – we kept looking back outside at the amazing Paris skyline!

classic Paris Architecture

And here is a closer view of the iconic Paris architecture…the classic french look of the buildings below…

Eiffel Tower view of Paris from Jules Verne

Now onto our main course – Alex had turbot that was poached inside a cabbage leaf, served atop a “cookpot” of root vegetables – and topped with caviar:

Jules Verne main dish with caviar

Alex made sure we documented all of our courses:

Jules Verne restaurant Alex Duda Paris

I had roasted quail with fava beans and fresh baby lettuce:

Jules Verne Paris lamb main course

Jules Verne Paris two star restaurant lamb dish

Here’s another view from out table as we readied ourselves for dessert!

Eiffel Tower view from Jule Verne restaurant

Alex had a pistachio cake topped with fresh raspberries, slices of fresh coconut – and gold flake!

Jules Verne gold flake dessert

Jules Verne Paris gold flake fruit

I had their version of a pineapple upside down cake with almond ice cream and fresh sliced coconut…

Jules Verne dessert Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower view of Paris from Jules Verne

You can also see the Basilica of Sacre Coeur in the distance…

best Paris views

Finally done, it was just a matter of finishing our wine!

Eiffel Tower Jules Verne restaurant Alex Duda

John Rieber Alex Duda

And then we stepped outside, and went down a small flight of private stairs, and we walked around the entire tower, getting additional shots of the city…

Paris iconic architecture

We made sure to take a lot of pictures while we were on the main observation deck:

Alex Duda Eiffel Tower

It’s also a great view of the Seine, flowing through Paris…

Paris Seine river

best paris views

Eiffel Tower view of Paris

Paris vacation Alex duda John Rieber

After we finished taking our pictures, we headed back up to the restaurant for coffee – and one more look at the view…this really is the best way, in my opinion, to see the city of Paris from the Eiffel Tower…

lunch view at jules verne

This was our second time eating at Jules Verne, and it is well worth the cost…a great way to see Paris and have a great meal at the same time!

Eiffel Tower Jules VErne Restaurant from ground

Eiffel Tower Paris travel secrets

Categories: Books / Media, cookbooks, Exotic Travel, Food, Food Review, Memoirs, Paris, Recipes, Restaurants, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized, Wacky Food, wine

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