PARIS – For five days in Paris, those with a few extra hundred dollars in their pockets can enjoy the best of French cuisine while seated 50 yards up in the sky.
From Friday to Tuesday, a French lifestyle and gourmet food magazine is sponsoring lunches and dinners prepared by Paris' most elite chefs. For $1,350 a person, guests can eat perched above the Tuileries Gardens with a stellar view of the city.
The event is not only about luxury dining — $146 for every customer goes to France's Federation of Rare Diseases, which funds research into unknown diseases.
"This event shows the human dimension of French chefs, and we are very thankful for their generosity," said the federation's president, Marie-Christine Louppe.
The 12 chefs taking part represent the city's best dining establishments, and will prepare a total of 550 meals for the project.
Meurice Hotel head chef Yannick Alleno said he planned a meal of white salmon, veal with truffles and cake.
"We are promoting French cuisine at an international level," he said.
So how do the diners get to eat in the sky?
A large metal table seating 22 people is secured to a platform and suspended by metal cords from a glass roof that is connected to a crane. The moving crane slowly lifts the table into the air. The guests are strapped into large, cushioned black chairs not unlike those of a roller coaster. Two chandeliers and large lights hang from the roof.
"I have worked in this park for 28 years, and I have never seen anything like this," said Lansana Goudiaby, 52, who works for a cleaning company that is helping out at the event. "It's wonderful ... it's important that we have progress like this."