Quarante Trois, Holiday Inn Notre Dame
4 Rue Danton
Holiday Inn may not be the first name to spring to mind when it comes to luxury travel. But they’ve upped their game with their 4 star Notre Dame eco-hotel and topped it off with one of the city’s best rooftop views at their summer terrace bar, le Quarante Trois.
Taking the elevator to the 9th floor to partake in this panorama is not as easy as it might seem. Ample space is on hold for hotel guests and the remaining available spots are usually reserved in advance. Walk-ins will likely be told the bar is already full, even at 5:30pm midweek. However, what is lost in spontaneity is more than made up for by their reservations policy. Unlike some of the city’s other bars with breathtaking views, once reserved here, you’re guaranteed space without long waits, being denied entrance or excessive crowds.
I previously enjoyed the terrace pre-opening for a Cook Me Drink Me event as well as several times for a glass of bubbly, so I was already sold on the view. But, wanting to check out the regular cocktail menu, I reserved for an early evening to show off the city to some visiting friends. While they took a Demory beer (7 Euros) and a couple of glasses of Duval Leroy Rose champagne (15 Euros), I took a martini. Although a good and icy temperature, I was a little disappointed with the lack of garnish and a few small ice chunks floating in it. There are some nice gins on the menu with Haymans, G’Vine, Hendricks, Bols Genever and Monkey 47.
My martini was an off-menu order. What you will find on menu is a choice of 9 cocktails at 15 Euros, which include house creations and modern classics like the Tommy’s Margarita. The majority of the drinks are tequila based with a couple of rum drinks. The cocktails also feature various liqueurs and herbs de Provence. The “Tais Toi Lasse-Moi Faire” (Shut up and let me do it) option gives the pleasant head barman, Mathieu, carte blanche to create a drink for you.
I gave this a shot, with the instructions to the server that I didn’t want anything sweet or fruity. Admittedly, that leaves a pretty broad range of options. I got a large balloon filled with plenty of ice and a light pink cocktail. My first thought was: greyhound. But on second sip, I realized there was a touch of rose to it. When I checked in with Mathieu at the bar, he told me there was crème to grapefruit, crème to rose, G’Vine, citrus and tonic. While I might not make this drink for myself, it was an appropriate choice considering my limited instructions and the fact that I had previously ordered a gin martini.
My fellow drinkers felt like this was a better spot for champagne. Based on Mathieu’s reputation, I’ll go back to try more cocktails. I do appreciate the fact that the menu doesn’t fall back on just vodka-based cocktails and incorporates more than the usual suspects.
Having visited on several occasions since their opening, I’m finding it one of the more enjoyable spots in which to enjoy the sunny days of summer. So get there to drink in the last of the lovely weather, but do it soon because they close for the season on 29 September. Hopefully there are still spaces left, because it’s a view not to be missed!