The best spot for a leisurely glass of Grenache and a quick bite? One of these al fresco Parisian haunts.
Much of Paris’s characteristic charm is found in its café terraces, omnipresent throughout the city. Here are ten terraces that top the list, some more covert than others. From classic haunts to museum and shopping center rooftops to boats docked along the Seine, pull up a chair and enjoy la vie Parisienne.
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Just outside the glorious gardens of the Palais Royal where Buren’s striped columns set an artful scene, the grand columns of Le Nemours invite into one of the best people-watching spots in the city. Score a seat for a bistro-style lunch or dinner, or linger over an aperitif well after the sun sets while enjoying the Parisian scenes. This vast terrace is open seven days a week from morning until night and also proves a perfect spot to take cover from a rain shower.
Treize au Jardin
Bienvenue a Treize au Jardin, the leafiest terrace in Paris’s Saint-Germain neighborhood, directly across the street from the Luxembourg Gardens. This favorite all-day brunch and lunch spot both to locals and those in the know offers southern American home-cooking with a French twist. Savory selections include pecan-crusted chicken, BBQ pulled pork, vegetable pies and kale salad. It’s worth a stop alone for a slice of freshly baked carrot cake and a chat with the affable owners.
Le Café Lapérouse
The latest addition to regal terraces with a story to tell, Le Café Lapérouse is nestled into the newly renovated Hôtel de la Marine on Place de la Concorde. Both date back to the 18th century. Designed by Cordélia de Castellane, the Romanesque décor of the restaurant continues into both covered terraces, one offering a prime view of the largest square in the French capital. Whether feasting on foie gras, a prime cut of meat, or the catch of the day, both lunch and dinner will prove memorable.
Discover a taste of Provence at Perruche, high up on the rooftop of department store Printemps Haussmann. Translated to “parakeet,” this bird’s eye view over Paris is nearly as lush as the Luberon. Grilled prawns, Salad Niçoise, and a decadent Tarte Tropézienne are just a few of the menu options inspired by the Côte d’Azur. Every evening the neighboring bar comes alive with a DJ mixing tunes alongside the bartender. Sip a glass of rosé or a well-crafted cocktail and inhale the views.
Set on a boat in the Seine just steps away from Invalides, discover Fluctuart, Paris’s first floating urban art center. A well-curated selection of works by a global array of artists fills the boat’s halls while the rooftop opens into a bar and restaurant. During the summer months, informal lunch and dinner are served daily until midnight, with poke bowls and charcuterie platters among the light bites. Creative cocktails including Street Fighter and Urban Candy, take their inspiration from the artwork.
Les Ombres Quai Branly
Following a rendezvous at the Musée du Quai Branly, which features indigenous art from around the world, glide up to the roof terrace for a panoramic view of Paris from the hanging garden of Les Ombres Quai Branly. Dine on a seasonal selection of contemporary French recipes concocted from both land and sea as the Eiffel Tower casts its evening glow. The grand glass-enclosed restaurant also offers exceptional views for lunch on Saturday and Sunday and dinner seating daily except for Monday.
Le Perchoir Marais
Post-shopping spree at BHV department store, join the au courant for signature cocktails on the rooftop at Le Perchoir Marais. They even offer their own gin and vodka distilled near Cognac, plus organic soft drinks. Choose between a mix of Basque-inspired tapas while swooning over views of the Eiffel Tower, Hôtel de Ville, and Paris’s iconic zinc rooftops. Every summer a new theme defines the décor, including the Provençal vibes of Marseille. Open daily from store closing until late into the night.
This laid-back eatery on the right bank neighbors the Maison de l’Architecture. Showcasing a lush terrace and weekly events, Café A offers a convivial setting in which to catch up with friends or plan a social gathering. Middle Eastern-inspired menu options include shakshuka, roasted eggplant, and a sweet side of French toast babka. À la carte brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday and beverages from craft beer to champagne flow well into the night, seven days a week.
For a one-on-one date with Madame Eiffel, head to restaurant Girafe at the Cité de l’Architecture on Place du Trocadéro. Outfitted in the spirit of the 1930s, this casually elegant lunch and dinner address creates chic Parisian scenes both within its enclosed restaurant and upon the outdoor terrace. Every seafood imaginable is served including caviar and cockles, accompanied by a first-class list of cocktails, wines, and spirits. Arrive before sunset and stay for the sparkling lights, but don’t forget to reserve.
Azur Aux Jardins du Pont-Neuf
Floating on the Seine in front of Paris’s oldest bridge and in direct view of recently reopened department store Samaritaine, enter the boat Azur Aux Jardins du Pont-Neuf for a night of revelry. Cozy up with your closest confidants in the roomy terrace and share a bottle of champagne while nibbling on plates of fried zucchini blossoms, grilled calamari, and platters of cheese. Entertainment takes on the form of a live band or DJ blasting dance tunes, but all you really need is the illuminated city.