PARIS (WASHINGTON POST) - Exactly what will happen when President Donald Trump arrives in Paris for his much-touted Bastille Day visit is anyone's guess.
For the moment, however, one thing is certain: the teetotaller president will be dined (if not wined) in lavish fashion. French President Emmanuel Macron - who drew significant criticism for inviting Trump to France in the first place - will host a dinner for his guest of honour at Le Jules Verne, a panoramic restaurant high in the Eiffel Tower with prices that match its altitude.
The two presidents, their wives and their entourages will dine on Thursday - the night before France's national holiday - in the restaurant, one of the most expensive in the world's capital of haute cuisine, the French magazine Paris Match first revealed.
Recently taken over by the celebrity chef Alain Ducasse, Le Jules Verne, on the second floor of France's most recognisable landmark, features six-course tasting menus that cost €230 (S$362). And that's without the wine.
What will be on the menu the night of the presidential visit? Details have not been released, but the restaurant's tasting menu already includes delicacies such as oven-baked blue lobster prepared with tomato and black olives, caviar-laden golden potatoes from Noirmoutier, an island off the France's Atlantic coast, and, for dessert, pan-seared raspberries and apricots, doused in homemade almond ice cream.
Named for Jules Verne, the famous 19th century French author who wrote classics like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870) and Around The World In Eighty Days (1873), the restaurant bills itself as a similar voyage away from reality. If anything, the views are as much an attraction as the cuisine. Diners are treated to panoramic views of the French capital: its grand boulevards, its winding river and, at night, its famous lights.
"One does not come to the Jules Verne by chance," reads the restaurant's website. "It is a destination that transmits a dream." But at the same time, Le Jules Verne, despite its symbolic status as a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, bears only one of the three Michelin stars possible for restaurants of its calibre to earn. Other restaurants in its price point carry two or three stars.
The optics, however, would seem an ideal place to welcome the American president, increasingly unpopular in Europe, especially on the eve of a festival that will celebrate, among other things, the 100th anniversary of the US entry into World War I.
As Christophe Castaner, a French government spokesman, told LCI, a French news channel, earlier this month: "Emmanuel Macron wants to try to prevent the president of the United States being isolated. He sometimes makes decisions that we disagree with, on climate change for example."
"But we can do things: either you can say, 'we're not speaking because you haven't been nice' or we can reach out to him to keep him in the circle."