While Wes Anderson will present on the Croisette The French Dispatch, on the starting blocks for the Palme d’Or, fans will watch, on their sofa, the prologue of Darjeeling Limited (2007): his short film, Hotel Chevalier, where Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman love each other one last time in the chic and outdated decor of the current Hotel Raphael, in Paris. The most determined, or in lack of sensations, failing to book a room with a view of Parisian life, will not hesitate to take a table on the terrace of the said hotel.
In order to respect the rhythm established in the short film by the single song Where Do You Go To (My Lovely), by Peter Sarstedt (1969), it is best to climb the seven floors on foot. The central carpet of the staircase felt the pace when the close examination of the stained glass slows it down. When you reach the top, your breath is taken away, by the sight and by the effort.
The wind carries with it the scent of the rose bushes cut into a ball and the locks of hair of the waiters at the sand polo shirt. In the shelter of a boxwood, but facing the Eiffel Tower, purists will look in vain on the map for the grilled cheese and the glass of chocolate milk ordered by Jason Schwartzman from room service. Of Bloody Mary, no official trace either. So it will be a Caesar salad with lobster and a bottle of still water …
A shipwreck and fantasies
Facing the sun, a boat of Roman salad truffled with lobster sails towards the table. The leaves are gigantic and serve as a receptacle for the American classic. It’s bombastic and uninspiring. Romaine is very generous: its water drowns the delicacy of the crustacean flesh, which has become a texture without any particular taste. Fall on a crouton and it’s the apotheosis. The sauce is bland, where it should be challenged.
Parmesan, of course, is well made. You have to know how to recognize what is qualitative. And who likes the heart of salad and would like it whole is satisfied. The feeling of being a spoiled child is total. It is far from unpleasant. Because between each bite, a gust of wind puts ideas back in place: no one comes here to feast but to be part of a story, one that everyone tells themselves in a romantic moment. There, alone, facing the most emblematic monument of Paris, who wants to can dream of being a writer, a musician in the making, the future patron of the CAC 40, a divorcee celebrating her newfound freedom or a fiancé saying goodbye to hers.
What unites them all is elegance. It is also embodied in the 2000 Feuilles by Pierre Hermé, a pastry work in its own right. We will not read the rest of Natalie Portman’s adventures there, but we will taste all the gluttony that makes Paris a carnal city. The scorched puff pastry cracks under the pressure of the spoon hungry for pastry cream. It’s nutty, like crunchy praline. The spoiled child rolls in the sweetness before pulling himself together, looking at the horizon and humming Where Do You Go To (My Lovely).
The address Hotel Raphael, the rooftop, 17, avenue Kléber, Paris 16e. Phone. : 01-53-64-32-00. Open daily between April and September from noon to 11 p.m.
The essential Le 2000 Feuilles by Pierre Hermé.
The best location Ask for a table sheltered from the wind if you don’t like feeling on the deck of a boat.
L’addition 50 € minimum.
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