|Le Chalet des Îles Restaurant, Paris|
|A little bit of magic on the edge of Paris: lunch on an island in the middle of the Lac Inférieur in the Bois de Boulogne. Combine it with a visit to the Musée Marmottan Monet and you've got a perfect Parisian day.|
After a delightful visit to the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, I decided to wander over to the Bois de Boulogne, mostly just to see how close I was. Very quickly I found myself on the shore of the Lac Inférieur, the smaller of two little lakes in the Bois, looking across the water at the lovely Chalet des Îles restaurant (map).
On impulse I hopped on the next free water shuttle (the small launches run continually, the crossing takes only a minute) and went to the island for lunch.
Le Chalet des Îles is a lovely, calm spot. Sitting on the terrace under the shade of an umbrella and nearby trees and gazing at the lake was a perfect setting for lunch after a busy museum morning.
(Although I just wandered over, I recommend that you call in advance for a reservation [tel: +33 (0) 142 88 04 69] as it may be fully booked on some days in good weather.)
A Perfect Lunch...
I started my lunch with a kir, or white wine with crème de cassis (black current liqueur). Cold and just slightly sweet, it was a delicious drink on a warm day.
I didn't want a multi-course meal, but I wanted something more than a salad. And I was feeling adverturous, so I decided to try the Courgette Fleurs Farcies au Saumon, Tapenade d'Olives. What was it? Zucchini flowers stuffed with salmon, garnished with a tapenade (spread) made of black olives, olive oil, and capers. The flowers were one of the more unusual looking dishes I've ever eaten, and very tasty. The dish needed only some crusty French bread to go with it, and I was set.
I finished off my meal in proper French fashion with an espresso, thus extending the time I spent enjoying the beautiful setting.
Cost & Value
Hours of Operation
Le Chalet des Îles serves lunch (12 noon to 15:00/3pm) and dinner (19:30/7:30pm to 22:30/10:30pm) daily in summer; closed Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday in winter, and closed for two weeks at Christmas & New Year's.
A Post-Prandial Stroll
Pretty walking paths circle the two islands in the lake, linked by a short footbridge. Before lunch (if you arrive early), or after lunch if you wish, stroll around the islands enjoying the views of the water, the trees and flowers, perhaps swans, coots and other water fowl, sunbathers, and the verdant atmosphere that makes it easy to believe you aren't in a huge, bustling city.
Musée & Chalet
I strongly recommend that you combine lunch at Le Chalet des Îles restaurant with a visit to the wonderful Musée Marmottan Monet nearby.
There is car parking near the water shuttle dock, but if, more likely, you come by Métro, take Line 9 to La Muette (map), from which you will have a 10- to 15-minute walk to reach the water shuttle dock on the lake shore in the Bois de Boulogne. You will pass (and I hope visit) the Musée Marmottan Monet.
The following description may seem complicated, but really it's not, particularly if you follow this map. The walk from the museum to the water shuttle dock takes 9 to 12 minutes.
From the museum, turn right out the museum door and walk west along Rue Louis Boilly to the end at Boulevard Suchet. Cross the boulevard and walk along the northern (right) side of the little park called the Square des Écrivains Combattants Mort pour la France to the Avenue du Maréchal Maunoury. Cross this avenue and follow a rough dirt path to the right down to the Allée des Fortifications.
Cross the Allée and pass between three large rocks to enter the dirt path named the Allée des Dames (no sign). You will be walking through forest and undergrowth. At the first crossroads of paths, bear right. You will cross above the busy Boulevard Periphérique, but be in a forest!
At the second crossroads of paths continue straight on. You emerge from the forest at a small rond-point (traffic roundabout) on the Chemin de Ceinture du Lac Inférieur near the car parking lot and the water shuttle dock. You'll see Le Chalet des Îles and can easily find the dock.
The Water Shuttle
The water shuttle launch operates whenever there are passengers wanting to cross. The voyage is free of charge and lasts one minute.