There are restaurants that promise something more than delicious food and wine – destinations that offer the chance to step into another world. Le Clarence in Paris is one such place; one where the finest French food and wine can be savoured in an extraordinary setting that is like discovering a luxurious private residence from a bygone era.
Take a seat at Le Clarence at The Hotel Dillon
Le Clarence is located at 31 avenue Franklin D Roosevelt, in the 8th arrondissement and at the heart of the Golden Triangle – a glorious section of Paris (delineated by avenue Montaigne, avenue George V and avenue des Champs-Elysées) that is considered the very cradle of French luxury.
This year is set to usher in a new era for the area, bringing the highly anticipated reopening of Paris’ historic exhibition and event hall, the Grand Palais, in time for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (the space will host the fencing and taekwondo events.)
Le Clarence is set within an 1884 mansion built by architect Henri Parent, now home to The Hotel Dillon, which opened in 2015, along with the restaurant, after a restoration by skilled craftsmen, under the supervision of its proprietor HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg. The latter wanted to reproduce in Paris the unique ambiance of his Château Haut-Brion, in Bordeaux.
The mood at The Hotel Dillon is one of refined opulence. The mansion’s grand spaces feature wood panelling, period paintings, tapestries, and rich, jewel-hued furnishings that set an intimate, seductive scene.
Le Clarence features private dining and meeting rooms, a sumptuous salon, and an elegant bar reserved for restaurant guests. There is also an exceptional wine shop on the ground floor – La Cave du Château, which presents vintages from the vineyards of Domaine Clarence Dillon, as well as an expertly curated selection of the finest grand crus and spirits produced in France. This extraordinary wine shop showcases the variety and the formidable complexity of French wine-growing terroirs.
Head chef Christophe Pelé earned Le Clarence two Michelin stars just a year after its opening, and the restaurant is a reminder why perfectly executed French cuisine is internationally revered. The culinary philosophy at Le Clarence is to 'cultivate tradition, while continuing to innovate’.
Pelé maintains a deep respect for the fundamental disciplines of French cooking, whilst constantly exploring new flavours and ways to excite the palate. He seeks out and draws inspiration from the best artisan producers, taking a resolutely modern approach with the finest seasonal ingredients. Pelé creates exquisite, precise and perfectly balanced dishes, and fittingly for a restaurant that boasts one of the finest wine lists in the world, he is adept at the intricate art of pairing wine with food.
Recently appointed restaurant manager Charles Weyland works in harmony with Pelé to present an unforgettable experience where outstanding, contemporary food and wine are served in beautiful surroundings, and perfectly choreographed service strikes a balance between warm and formal. There are subtle flourishes of culinary theatre, where silver domes are lifted to reveal dishes, and perfectly roasted meat is brought on a chariot (a carving trolley) and expertly sliced at the table.
As you might imagine, the arrival of the cheese trolley is an event in itself, and you may choose from an astonishing selection, before retiring to the salon and contemplating views of the Grand Palais over dessert and a digestif.
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Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms
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