Eiffel Tower, Montmartre or Montparnasse don't actually have the monopoly of the best Paris panorama. Sometimes you can watch the city in its glory in a totally unexpected place in the company of friends not endless tourists and clicks of their cameras.
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.
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.
La promenade plantée
This original Paris park was build on top of old railway lines that on their part were built on the place of a viaduct. A five-km promenade in lush green begins with the elevated Viaduc des Arts on Avenue Daumensnil and ends in Périphérique - a ring road around Paris, piercing through tunnels, gardens and buildings. Thick ivy, hundreds of rose bushes, lavender, bamboo, grapes, maple, cherry and linden trees – Philippe Mathieux and Jacques Vergely made this part of Paris a garden of delight. Paths are narrow and lead to arches and tunnels as well as covered green arch-galleries. In early summer enjoy roses in blossom, in June – the aroma of linden trees and any time of the year – escape from the city hustle
This impressive 1,000 square-meter space is an alternative cultural center that houses salons, exhibitions, private and corporate events, concerts and parties. It is not in the center, but a ride to Porte de Versailles is worth it. You will be stunned by a magnificent view of Paris and sparkling Eiffel Tower and get hundreds of likes on your Instagram. Record labels and bands like Katapult arrange their electro parties here - they are loved by dancers and DJs (just imagine a set at sunrise). Video, modular space a huge post-industrial terrace – this is all so cutting edge that not even all locals have heart of it.
Parc de Belleville
Belleville was a village on the hill surrounded by vineyards in the north of Paris. Now this immigrant neighborhood is becoming something trendy competing with Montmartre and its bars. Most locals say this is the place where Paris is still Paris. The park used to be a vineyard with quite a Paris view. Sunset is the best time to enjoy it. During the day you can walk around fountains, chill on terraces, picnic with kids or watch street actors and performers. If you have work to do bring a laptop - they have free wi-fi as most Paris parks do.
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.
Sometimes you want more than just a yummy dinner but an experience. For lunch with the view go to the terrace of Kong futuristic restaurant on the sixth floor of Kenzo building. Designed by Philippe Starck, this fabulous mirrored roof offers stunning views on Paris roofs, Seine and Pont Neuf . You should visit it at least once, just don't forget to book a table and specify you need a veranda one, otherwise you will be seated a floor lower. A nice meal will cost you 30-60€ (they serve British, traditional Japanese and French food). Have a drink (happy hour is from 18 to 20) and make some great shots of Paris.
On any warm day, all Paris parks and embankments are packed with people – locals believe not a ray should be missed. A picnic or a chill-out with a book by the Seine is a great idea, however, half of the city thinks the same. Be smart to secure a spot and go to Square Barye in the westernmost part of Island of Saint-Louis. It is picturesque and has secret stairs to the embankment where you can easily find a place under the sun to get some tan and enjoy the sound of the waves disturbed by boats. Saint-Louis hasn't been discovered by tourists yet, so Parisians go there to escape from noise and crowds. Do like locals – grab a bottle of wine, cheese, a just baked baguette and make a sunset picnic. A great alternative to a night aperitif in a bar or a dinner replacement.
Île aux Cygnes
This narrow elongated Isle of the Swan on Seine in a great place for walking, jogging (it is maximum km long but it's nicer than running leap by leap in a park). It is also a great setting for a shoot with Tour Eiffel and a small replica of the Statue of Liberty.