Ciel de Paris (Tour Montparnasse)
33 Avenue du Maine
While I love a good cocktail, sometimes something else seems more appropriate. Last time I checked in on the Ciel de Paris of the Tour Montparnasse, I noted that not only had it gotten a bit tatty, but that it’s a setting better suited to sipping champagne than knocking back cocktails. It seems someone else felt the same way as it’s undergone a lengthy remodel to update the décor and is now billed as a Champagne bar.
The recent renovation resulted in futuristically retro feel for this Paris institution. Gone are the scuffs and scrapes of the predominantly black space; replaced by a more sophisticated palette of muted taupe and beige. The freestanding central bar remains, but now only champagne is poured here and any mixing action takes place elsewhere behind the scenes. The revamp has lightened the environment, while managing to maintain the best bits of its prior incarnation. And the very best bit is by far the breathtaking view.
The drinks menu is naturally dominated by Champagne and a section of “Bellinis” such as the eponymous “Ciel de Paris” (St Germain, Grand Marnier, Campari and Champagne). For those who simply can’t cope without a cocktail, there is a rather lengthy selection of options including house specialties and classics. Since Thibault and Wendy were with me, we got a chance to go all three ways. Thibault took a Bellini, which was nicely presented, although a bit sweet for my taste. The fact that my martini came with an offensive ice cube and a big black straw, reaffirmed my belief that this venue is made for champagne. So, Wendy made the right choice with just that. With their focus on bubbly, the spirits selection is – not surprisingly – sparse, with a scant gin choice of Gordon’s or Bombay Sapphire. A plate of pate de fruit and mini-muffin cakes accompanied our drinks.
Service was friendly and I appreciate the fact that they didn’t use the remodel as an excuse to excessively jack up drink prices (as opposed to other recent revamps like Bar La Vue.) Prices remain in a 14 to 16 Euros range and are entirely justifiable given the location. Champagne by the glasses goes from 17 to 30 Euros.
The Ciel de Paris once claimed to be the highest restaurant in Paris. While newer spots have taken that title, they are still up there. So, when in a bar that’s reaching for the stars, what better to order than a glass full of them? So, much like the gorgeous view, my impression remains the same on the drinks: Stick with the something that sparkles to go with the sparkling view of the city below.