Eating dinner in the famous Eiffel Tower

Published: April 29, 2010

By: Kendra Bates

Imagine eating a private dinner with your family at one of the most famous restaurants in the world. Picture eating in a large restaurant that sits 1,000 feet above the ground, surrounded by glass windows, and overlooking beautiful scenery. For some people it’s a scary thought, but for 23-year-old Juan Gilfillian II it’s something that he looks forward to.

Le Jules Verne is a five-star restaurant located on the second level of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. Gilfillian, a Largo, Maryland resident, has been traveling to Paris with his family for the past 10 years. He travels to Paris every other summer and eats a private dinner at Le Jules Verne restaurant.

“Our first trip to Paris was exciting, but it was even more exciting when my dad surprised us with a private dinner at Le Jules Verne,” Gilfillian said.

First experience in a five star resturant

Gilfillian describes Le Jules Verne as an elegant, cabaret style restaurant. The setting is extremely intimate, with fancy lighting arrangements and lighting surrounding the window for a better view. The most memorable thing for Gilfillian was being able to eat in one of the world’s most known restaurants.

“You get wonderful service the moment they open the doors for you. The carpet is chocolate brown, the windows are always glistening, the view is amazing, and most of all I get to eat in peace with just my family,” Gilfillian said.

France has many tourist attractions, but visiting the Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular. The Eiffel Tower sits 81-stories high, has a unique iron structure and an expensive design layout. Tourists surround the structure, taking pictures and admiring the setting.

“I really enjoyed the scenery from the bridge which was overlooking the lake and I could see the Eiffel Tower from across the street,” Gilfillian said.

Juan Gilfillian Sr., who refers to himself as JP, is responsible for the frequent trips that he and his family take. JP travels to Paris every other summer to spend quality time with his children and to get away from his daily routine of going to work and returning home to watch television on his couch.

JP enjoys the special treatment from Le Jules Verne’s restaurant staff, but he doesn’t want people to think that he is any different than him. Even though the Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most visited towers, it is not easy to make a reservation like most restaurants.

“While crowds waited in line to go up the Eiffel Tower, we went to the South Tower where an elevator took us up for lunch. No waiting and no crowds,” Gilfillian said.

To get to Jules Verne restaurant you must show your reservation on paper and then a private elevator escorts you to the dining room. The table is yours for the night, but there are only 120 places available and there is always a waiting list, so families need to plan well ahead and reserve their places. The moment the Gilfillian’s enter the restaurant, they are already making reservations for their next visit.

“The lobster and the desserts are by far the best dishes on the menu while the veal and the fish are fine and enjoyable. Service is very good, efficient and polite and with perfect timing,” JP said.

In order to eat at le Jules Verne, you need to book many months in advance especially if you want to have a table right next to one of the windows. Having a table next to the windows allows for people to have a wonderful view of Paris itself. The waiters try to keep out of the way as much as possible, so that they can enjoy the view.

“We were fortunate to have a wonderful waitress whom we met the last visit here,” JP said.

Brisje’ Graves has been a waitress at Le Jules Verne for three years. Graves enjoys working with the well-equipped staff members who are enthusiastic about serving people. Graves enjoys serving food in the high-status restaurant, but she particularly enjoys serving food to the Gilfillian family.

“I enjoy serving them so much because I always know what entrée they are going to ask for. The fine food is gourmet style and traditional French cuisine, yet it surely is not easy for any chef to cook such fabulous contemporary French food when being so high up and unable to cook with gas within the Eiffel Tower. Somehow, the cooks manage to get it done,” Graves said.

While, JP and Gilfillian enjoy glorious cuisines, Bianka Gilfillian enjoys the wine served at the bar. The bar is another aspect of the restaurant that makes it enjoyable. The bar section is separated on an upper level, making the restaurant appear even more chic.

Enjoying Paris’ bar experience

“The service and food at Le Jules Verne is very good, consistent with what you expect from a very good French restaurant. There is a fantastic wine list with an excellent selection of drinks to choose from, and some are even under 40€, so why waste time eating when you could splurge on drinks,” Bianka said.

Planning a trip to Paris can be difficult considering France is known as one of the most expensive countries in the world. The euro seems to get stronger and stronger each year JP visits Paris.

“I eat at Le Jules Verne, not just for the experience, but to bond with my children. It is one of the most important things as a father to bond with my kids,” JP said.

As you can no doubt imagine, Le Jules Verne is definitely not one of the cheapest places to eat out in Paris, but the views of the city are remarkable, especially when it becomes a very romantic setting with lights dimmed so as not to distract from the awe-inspiring view of Paris itself.

“My budget is broken down according to the major expenses incurred during a typical trip to France, to Paris and the rest of Europe. Still, I remember this is a vacation, so I don’t make any cuts that will ruin the trip or it will just make it hard to enjoy my time in France,” JP said.

Traveling to Paris, France is not an everyday trip that most families take especially since it is very expensive. Budgeting is key when traveling and it is something that JP thinks about before he plans to travel.

“The fact that I work for American Airlines cuts down on some of the expenses. I am very fortunate and blessed to have a wonderful job with benefits,” JP said.

Flying first-class

American Airlines is committed to providing commendable service and there are many employee benefits that come with working for the airline. JP admits that working for American Airlines has given his family the opportunity to fly at discounted rates, mostly first-class and hotel accommodations.

Flying first-class is another memorable experience for Gilfillian. Gilfillian always looks forward to the reclining seats that change into a bed, tough screen TV’s, and new release movies. Along with what he calls “supreme” service, the flight attendants offer five different kinds of entrées and offer some of the top wines in France.

“It’s trips like these that make me realize how blessed I am, but I still consider myself a normal boy that does normal things,” Gilfillian said.

Despite the extreme expenses of France, it doesn’t stop the Gilfillian family from traveling. Traveling is a way to ease the mind and become more open-minded about other cultures.

“You only live once, and I don’t know how much longer my dad will continue this ritual,” Gilfillian said.


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