It rains so often in Paris that as soon as the sun comes out, Parisians flood to the streets. It is out of the question to spend the precious lunchtime indoors, therefore each cafe or restaurant tries to have a nice terrace, or at least take a few chairs outside. Here we have gathered the most beautiful summer terraces in the city.
Paris, unlike London and NYC, doesn't have that many rooftop bars or restaurants, that's why Le Perchoir, which has recently opened in Oberkampf number one bar spot, is so popular. There is a huge line of people craving a 360° panorama of Paris, though the place has no ads or signs – it is all spread by word of mouth. Once you pass face control and take the elevator up the 7th floor a relaxed and nice bar welcomes you. It is ideal for a summer drink and tapas with your friends admiring Paris in the rays of the setting sun. The place can seat only 110 people so better come early (5-5.30, after 18.30 don’t even try). There is, however, another option - book a table in Le Perchoir restaurant under the bar to have a rooftop aperitif before a great dinner.
Loulou Friendly Diner
Loulou is located in the most touristy part of Quartier Latin, where every house is home to a cafe or two, however, they are all tourist traps. Loulou is an exception and escape. While its exterior of a friendly diner is nothing special, it is just a disguise – otherwise it would be packed. Firstly, their waiters seem to be the best in town, very friendly and always ready for a chat, unless the place is full. Then, they have the most delicious burgers and bagels being cooked all day long – the thing appreciated by locals and tourists. Come in the morning when the place is half-empty to get a great coffee and breakfast, by noon there will be a crowd. Once you eat here, you will have an urge to come back again and again. They have vegetarian options – salads, vegetable bagels as well as yummy smoothies. Pancakes, meat and fish – everything is perfect. If it is warm, pick a veranda seat (a small tip for busy folks – the plug for your laptop is under the sofa at the left-most table near the façade). An ideal working space: the sun lit veranda, great food and coffee, free wi-fi and no hints that you should leave. As for dinners – at night, there are many tables so no need to book one. Loulou is great for any occasion, but avoid lunch time during the weekends, otherwise you will spend thirty minutes in a line.
It's another creation of Paris’ “chic mafia” La Clique (Le Baron, La Fidelité, Nanashi, Chez Moune, Le Lautrec, Hotel Amour…) on the roof of the Center for Fashion and Design. In fact it's a huge green terrace (a great view on Seine and Paris, wooden floors and furniture and lots of plants) plus a club-bunker. Atmosphere is like an exotic beach and very un-Paris relaxed – no dress code and everlasting holiday under electro beats played by world famous DJs and young Paris talents.
An excellent bar with a pleasant name opened several years ago in the Buttes Chaumont park. In the summer there is no better place in Paris to have an aperitif while sitting among the trees and enjoying the last rays of the setting sun and a great view. It has a good selection of wines and tapas that come at a reasonable price, and a good music, which makes it a perfect finish of a long day in the city. The owner of the bar Michelle Cassaro used to run the Pulp, a famous lesbian club closed in 2007, so the place is unconditionally gay friendly. The victim of its own success, Rosa Bonheur is totally overcrowded during summer nights, but despite the capacity crowd it is as relaxing as it gets. Unfortunately, the bar only works till midnight, but it charges you up for the whole night ahead.
This small restaurant on the bank of Canal Saint Martin is never empty. Get a seat on a high bar stool by the window or outside, order a bagel and smoothie of the day and watch people passing by the canal. Works by young artists on the walls, nice music and staff keen on all modern art galleries in the neighborhood. The best option is their weekend brunch – a bagel, eggs, baguette with butter, home-made organic jams, smoothies, dessert and great coffee – everything you need on Sunday morning.
An Italian restaurant hidden in a quiet patio right by the noisy Place de l'Opéra. It's dark but stylish and almost always packed (to dine here make a reservation and ask for a window seat). The crowd looks posh the same as interiors and everybody orders pizza – so huge it is served on two big plates. Take one to share but you can cope on your own – the dough is really thin and it’s not that stuffed. The remaining menu is traditional Italian and everything is perfect.
If you walk across Marais' most vibrant street – Rue Vieille-du-Temple – you will see L'étoile Manquante, Le Petit Fer à Cheval, Les Philosophes, La Belle Hortense and La Chaise Au Plafond. These restaurants are all close and don't differ in menus much. However, Les Philosophes has the most pleasant atmosphere and nice outdoor tables for people spotting. The food is simple but nicely served and made of super fresh produce. Chefs have no break (a rare case in France where eating in irregular hours is a problem) and waiters are quick and friendly. Don’t be afraid to order fish, meats or salads - they are all delicious. The best deal is plat du jour with a glass of wine (ask a waiter with a long grey beard for advice) and tarte tatin as a dessert – theirs is the best in town.
Batofar is a ship and a lighthouse for Parisian nights, moored opposite the Francois Mitterand library. It is one of those rare clubs that have been around for a long time but are still fresh and trendy, with long queues outside. Each night you can hear the sounds of hip-hop, rock, electronic and house music, minimal and techno from here. It contains not only a club and a bar, but represents the whole complex with a restaurant serving simple but tasty food, and a heated terrace, open from June to September and offering a great view. Moreover, from May to September the embankment in front of it becomes a "beach" with lounge chairs and a bar of its own.
This Tokyo-style hotel is not far from the notorious Place Pigalle with its sex shops. This is a creation of Costes and Clique Brothers, the founders of the legendary Baron club, Costes Hotel, Cafe Beaubourg and other trendy Paris venues. Here they play upon love and eroticism, which attracts hundreds of couples on a romantic weekend in Paris. The design was done by such stars as Marc Newson, M&M Stak, Pierre Le-Tan, M. André and Sophie Calle. Bath tubes in the bedroom, huge strategically placed mirrors, vintage erotic magazines and lovely flea market knickknacks – a new totally non-vulgar way to reinvent the past of this hotel where prostitutes used to bring their clients. Its crème de la crème is a room with 200 disco balls under the ceiling, however, it costs more than standard € 155 per night. If love is not the sphere of interest, visit the place for their brunch in a patio restaurant – some locals come here for the sake of it alone.
Finding good coffee in Paris is a challenge but KB CaféShop is the place that has it. A small cafe with huge windows between Martys and Trudaine is almost always crowded with students with laptops, local bobo and English-speaking tourists. However, they will always find you a spot on a wooden bench outside or something indoors. Baristas are friendly and trendy and give tips which coffee to take. Music is lovely, prices low and sizes big. In hip SoPi (South Pigalle) it is an ideal breakfast spot though they have something for lunch – sandwiches, salads and soup of the day made at the site.
This bar opened in Marais in 2013 and lures in with great cocktails and small traditional meals. The place is a spacious and cozy wooden cocoon – ceiling, walls, bar counter and tables – everything is made of wood. Come here with friends or to make new ones – local folks are great. Choose a small corner table for a tête-à-tête or a huge white coach for a drink with friends. If you are alone, grab a cheese platter and a glass of white wine and climb a high table. And for a perfect weekend brunch go to their veranda bathing in the rays of lights.
Exhausted after Marais shopping go to this peaceful garden at the Swedish Institute where you can have coffee and some fresh pastry far from omnipresent tourists. Local love this place – in spring and summer they arrange Lunch Beat disco – one hour in the middle of the day. Get tickets in advance as the main rule is - everybody dances. This is quite an experience to dine and dance in the eclectic crowd of Paris hipsters.
The Institute arranges interesting exhibitions and concerts so remember this place.
Le Marche des Enfants Rouges
This oldest covered market in Paris, and maybe in the entire France, got its name (the market of red children) due to the nearby orphanage where kids were made wear red to easily spot runaways in the crowds of Le Marais. Today, the market is not that vast, so look for the wrought iron gates to enter. However, inside it’s still the harbor of gourmet delight: Norman cheeses, herbs of Provence, Burgundy wines, Dijon mustards, affordable ivory foie gras of Gorron, black truffles (sold for a fortune), Aveyron oysters and insanely delicious pastry. Here you will also find farmers selling their produce, flowers and dairy products.
Paris is seeing a new generation of boutique owners whose motto is – fashion is life. Broken Arm is one the pioneers of this new wave, website De Jeunes Gens Modernes in flesh – this multibrand temple of fashion is abundant with creations by young designers. Its trendy café (good coffee, breakfasts and lunches) as well as collaborations with the hottest Paris artists make this store the brightest spot on the shopping map of the world's fashion capital.
Musée de la Vie Romantique
You should visit the Museum of Romantic Life at least to have a cup of coffee in its cozy green patio. The museum itself is also quite interesting, especially considering free admission to the permanent exhibition. The house of Ary Scheffer, court painter of King Louis-Phillippe, who for many decades used to gather most eccentric and prominent artists of his time for his regular Friday salons, carefully preserves the memory of his inhabitants and visitors. There is a large collection of furniture, paintings, letters and decorations. For admirers of George Sand this museum, with ground floor almost entirely dedicated to her, is a must.
Institut du monde arabe
Even if you are not interested in Arab culture or history you should visit the Arab World Institute. Firstly, its facade is decorated with a system of beautiful mechanical diaphragms inspired by Arab ornaments – this creation of Jean Nouvel is quite impressive. But the major hallmark of the building is a rooftop view, which can compare to the one from the Eiffel Tower (they also have a restaurant on top). You don’t even have to buy a ticket to get up. As for the exposition, it showcases history and archeology of the Arab world and lacks phantasy – items just lie under the glass, which may attract only those who are really interested in the field.
Palais de Tokyo
Actually, the place has nothing to do with Japan and is no palace. It is a center for contemporary art and an absolute must visit. This place of power is opened from noon to midnight and has plenty to showcase, especially after the recent renovation. Over 20,000 square meters bring together creative people and host exhibitions that are too extravagant even compared to Pompidou. This “site de création contemporaine” hosts the boldest shows of modern artists – all of them are not to miss and some are even to be visited several times. Better come at night when the majority of museums are closed. Take your time to walk around, pop in their great bookstore have a dinner in Tokyo Eat or Monsieur Bleu and if you are lucky party hard in Yoyo.
Beaubourg has always been a working station for many prominent writers so people still come here with notepads and laptops. Inside you'll see much of its neighbor – George Pompidou Center for Modern Art – lots of concrete and futurism. The menu is a fusion of French and Asian food: onion soup, scrambled eggs, stews and Thai chicken.