With the office lunch hour squeezed into a schedule jam-packed with meetings, appointments and deadlines, the pleasure of going out for lunch can quickly be marred by slow service, compulsive clock-watching and a guilty dash back to your desk. To avoid reaching for the Rennies before rushing to your next meeting, why not book out the day for a luxurious lunch with a continental twist.
As decadent days out go, what could be more indulgent than hopping on the Eurostar for a spot of lunch in Paris. With bargain tickets at £69.00 return, ditch the mad dash round the museums and luxuriate instead over a long, lazy lunch while taking in Paris from your table. Here’s my top three tips for a gastronomic tour of the key sites.
1) Savour lunch on the Seine
If you’ve already braced the tourist tugs on the Seine, why not push the boat out this time and opt for a Lunch cruise instead. Smugly ensconced in an elegant glass-encased restaurant, you will be treated to the finest seasonal cuisine cooked fresh on the premises and washed down with copious quantities of wine. Glide past the sights to the strains of violin and piano concertos while the tugs chug along in your wake.
2) Combine a passion for fashion with a love of food
Love fashion and food? Why not satisfy both urges with a trip to Galleries Lafayette, Paris’s very own Selfridges. One of the city’s best-kept secrets, free fashion shows take place every Friday boasting a range of to-die-for designers including Ralph Lauren, Kenzo and Cerruti. (Pre-booking essential). Take in the latest trends hot-off-the catwalk before browsing the couture collections. Once you’ve sated your shopping urges, choose from a range of in-store eateries including Le Barouge in the cavernous Lafayette Gourmande wine shop or sample the delights of sashimi in the new sushi bar on the 6th floor.
3) Book a lunch and beat the Eiffel Tower queues
If you’ve ever wanted to venture up the Eiffel Tower but been put off by the queues, you can sneakily side-step the hordes by booking lunch in a choice of two restaurants. Discerning diners can opt for the Michelin starred Jules Verne restaurant which offers premium cuisine at a premium price and a private lift to whoosh you past the gasping stair-climbers. (Formal dress and several months advance booking required.) More moderately priced standard fare can be found at Altitude 95 on the 1st floor. Both restaurants offer the wow-factor without the queues but advance booking for both restaurants is essential – window seats are always heavily in demand.
Such a day of shameless indulgence is a definite one-off luxury but is guaranteed to reach the parts that the staff canteen or local bistro never will. Book your office break now and feel the difference a day makes.