La Cour Jardin at Hôtel Plaza Athénée This century-old courtyard garden restaurant, overseen by chef Alain Ducasse, was given a makeover a few years ago by architect and scenographer Bruno Moinard. Chef Mathieu Emeraud suggests the signature vegetable cookpot (€28) or artichoke and lemon risotto (€36), followed by the deboned saddle of lamb from Lozère (€52) or grilled sea bass, courgettes and olives (€58), and to finish the raspberry and rhubarb elixir with lemongrass granite (€22). Concept store Montaigne Market is hosting a pop-up boutique (by appointment only) on the hotel’s second floor, with designer fashion labels, must-have accessories for him and her and eclectic bathroom products. 25 Avenue Montaigne (+331-5367 6602; dorchestercollection.com).
Secret Table at The Peninsula In the summer of 1928, George Gershwin here wrote the first notes of An American in Paris. The Peninsula was then known as the The Majestic Hotel, and Marcel Proust, Pablo Picasso, Ivor Stravinsky, Josephine Baker and Coco Chanel were regular guests at the restaurant. This summer there will be special butler service for executive chef Christophe Raoux’s romantic dinners (€600 per person, with wine pairings by sommelier Nicolas Charrière) on the hotel’s seventh-floor terrace. Raoux, a winner of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (France’s best artisan) award, recommends the langoustine and Petrossian Oscietra caviar. Also tempting are the Brittany crayfish and truffle casserole, and the Strawberry Gariguette dessert with Sechouan pepper and vanilla ice cream. 19 Avenue Kléber (+331-5812 6730; peninsula.com).
Les Paillotes at Les Etangs de Corot The bucolic-chic brasserie at this restaurant, just 15 minutes from Versailles, is hosting brunch (€45) and jazz on Sundays this summer. “The menu and retro cocktails, including green, white and blue absinthe, are inspired by the guinguettes [taverns that hosted cabaret] that dotted the banks of the Seine in the 1900s”, says Alice Tourbier, co-owner of Les Etangs de Corot with her husband Jérôme. For wines, look no further than Smith Lafitte (white, €180, and red, €125) from the family’s Bordeaux château. Also of note is the house next door, a former residence/studio of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, one of France’s greatest landscape painters. 55 Rue de Versailles, 92410 Ville-d’Avray (+331-4115 3700; etangs-corot.com).
Joy Bar-Restaurant and Dom Pérignon Terrace Jacques Garcia has given this iconic address some luxurious nips and tucks for its summer reopening. A Dom Pérignon bar in a leafy corner of the garden has rare vintages such as the 2006 (€45 per glass, €420 per bottle) that can be matched with Raymond Nordin’s cuisine. Lobster salad with coral vinaigrette (€48) vies with beef tartar, fries and lettuce (€32) and lobster club sandwich (€48) for attention on the menu, while for dessert there are cheeses (€16) from Xavier Thuret, who has also been named a Meilleur Ouvrier de France. Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s, 46 Avenue George V (+331-970 8091; groupebarriere.com).
Saint James Club Summer Garden Terrace The world’s first hot air balloons took flight from here in the 18th century, as alluded to by the multicoloured silk versions now adorning the gardens of this magnificent mansion. An elegant English-style private club, hotel and spa with neoclassical decor by Franco-American designer Bambi Sloan, Saint James recently welcomed chef Jean-Luc Rocha into its kitchens and is taking reservations from non-members for dinners on Monday through Saturday (€140, or €205 with wine pairings) and Sunday brunch (from €80). Signature dishes include starters of warm foie gras in a sesame and poppy crust, and a vegetable couscous with oysters and marinated Dublin Bay prawns. Highlights among the mains are the Aubrac beef filet with reduction of beetroot, oregano gnocchi and Swiss chard jus, and there is also a “menu surprise” for those after something unexpected. 43 Avenue Bugeaud (+331-4405 8181; saint-james-paris.com).