The grand entrance of Ritz Paris overlooking the stately Place Vendôme can intimidate even the most seasoned traveler. Although I have been to the Ritz on several occasions since the early nineties, I still feel humbled on each visit; so many legendary people have walked through those doors. Ritz Paris is a special place that holds precious memories for me, and I would like to share two of them with you.
Spring 1998 – My sister and I dined at Bar Vendôme, where all the smart-looking Parisians had lunch. Although it was supposedly casual dining, we found the Bar filled with men in suits and elegantly dressed ladies. We were seated near the grand piano, a signature centerpiece of the Bar. The food and service were impeccable as expected of the Ritz.
A visit to the Ritz Paris would be incomplete without a stroll down the long mirrored corridor of boutiques, the very same one that Princess Diana walked through before her fatal accident in 1997. Being the sentimental person that she is, my sister bought a souvenir – a pink terrycloth robe made by D. Porthault for Ritz Paris.
Summer 2010 – My hubby, Mr. King and I went to lunch at L’Espadon, the formal dining at Ritz Paris on a sunny summer day. We sat on the terrace, which was cool and surrounded by beautiful plants and manicured topiaries inside giant urns. Through the gaps between the shady umbrellas, we caught glimpses of the clear Paris skies. Mr. King and I were unaware that L’Espadon had recently been awarded its second Michelin star. So we were delighted with the wonderful summer menu by Chef Michel Roth.
Each course was dainty and finely prepared. Mr. King and I were particularly impressed with the dessert – Refreshing Cherry Soup & Basil-Yogurt Sorbet. At first, we were skeptical. Was it like a gazpacho? Not at all. The half cherries were artistically arranged into a spiral with a plump cherry on the top. At our table, the server poured cherry soup into our dishes. We found the presentation breathtaking! The dessert tasted light, refreshing and sweet. What a delectable way to end our meal.
Mr. King and I can’t help but wondered how many cherries were needed to make the soup? In 2011, I would discover the answer in Chef Michel Roth’s recipe book, Ritz Paris Haute Cuisine. For the cherry soup, it would take 1.5kg to make 2 servings. That’s a lot of cherries for a few spoonful of soup!
If I were in Paris again on a sunny summer day, I would definitely venture to Ritz Paris for lunch, but…For the first time in its history, Ritz Paris has closed its doors on Aug 1, 2012 for major renovations (to be reopened in 2016). So until next we meet again, Ritz Paris, I can only dream of pink robes and cherry soup.
Other articles you may enjoy: Remembering Hotel de Crillon
All photos were taken by Mrs. King – except photos of Kate Moss from Vogue March 2012 “Checking Out: Kate Moss at Ritz Paris”, photographed by Tim Walker