My Favorite Terraces in Paris

April 12, 2012

With the nicer weather already making some cameo appearances, I decided it was time to share my list of favorite Paris terraces – the restaurants and bars among my picks that offer the best outdoor seating.

View from Le Café Marly


• Le Café Marly (1st) in the Louvre (Tel. 01 49 26 06 60, technically 93 Rivoli but it’s in the courtyard of the Louvre by the big glass pyramid). It’s a Costes brothers restaurant, which means the food can be a bit hit or miss but I’m a big fan of the shrimp or scallops dishes. A bit pricey and not always the friendliest service but despite all this it’s worth it for the location: great view of Louvre from the terrace. Good for tea or drinks too, open late. I highly recommend going just before sunset and staying until the lights of the Louvre come on.
• Restaurant Georges (4th) on the 6th floor of the Pompidou Center (Tel. 01 44 78 47 99)—modern French, great views of the city. A bit pricey, quite trendy (certainly not your typical cozy French bistro) but the food tends to be a bit less hit or miss than at some of the Costes brothers restaurants; a good pick for a special occasion. Open every day but Tuesday. Large terrace six floors up with an amazing view of Paris.
• Cru (4th) 7, rue Charlemagne, Tel. 01 40 27 81 84.  Featuring mostly (though not entirely) raw meats and fish, this restaurant is not for everyone.  But if you’re intrigued, the food is quite good (I recommend the duck ravioli which is actually not raw) and the setting is quite inviting. There is a small but quiet and cozy courtyard terrace.
• ChantAirelle (5th) 17, rue Laplace, Tel 01 46 33 18 59. Cute little place with a rather large, charming plant-filled terrace that will make you forget you are in a city (reserve the terrace in advance!) Traditional cuisine from the Auvergne, sumptuous desserts, large assortment of wines and liquers from the Auvergne.
• Chez Lena et Mimile (5th) 32 Rue Tournefort, Tél: 01 47 07 72 47. Open every day 12h to 14h30 & 19h to 23h. Huge elevated terrasse, great setting in a quiet part of the Latin Quarter but near rue Mouffetard. Mix of Spanish, French and Italian cuisine. The inside is cozy for winter. The linguine with shellfish sauce was especially good. A big hit with all my friends.
• Café Pères et Filles (6th) 8, rue de Seine, Tel. 01 43 25 00 28. Traditional French cuisine that is not too heavy. It’s becoming one of my favorite summer spots for the large outdoor seating area – great people watching.
• Hotel Amour (9th), 8 rue Navarin, Tel.: 01 48 78 31 80. Cute place for brunch or dinner, with a fantastic greenhouse/patio in warmer weather. Open Sundays.
• Le Relais de la Butte (18th), 12, rue Ravignan, Tel. 01 42 23 24 34.  It’s hard to find a decent restaurant in Montmartre but this restaurant is just slightly off the main tourist route and the food is of good quality and service is friendly. They have a number of outdoor tables – the location on a small square by the steps leading up to Sacré Coeur is unbeatable.
• Rosa Bonheur (19th) 2, allée de la Cascade in Buttes Chaumont Park, nearest Bozartis metro (access through gates opposite 74 rue de Botzaris), Tel. 01 42 00 00 45, Open Wed to Sun, 12 noon to midnight. Bar, dancing, tapas, though a more formal restaurant in the winter—changes based on the season. Great for summer evening drinks & tapas outside on the picnic tables but get there early (6:00pm) to avoid the long line to get in!
• Mama Shelter (20th), 109 rue Bagnolet (closet metro is Gambetta or Alexandre Dumas). A very modern space with individual tables for dining, family-style dining tables and several bars. New French cuisine. Worth the trek if you are looking for something different, relaxed, and have the time to take advantage of the space. Their large roof deck is open in the summer.
 Restaurant l’Ile (Issy-Les-Moulineaux), 170 Quai de Stalingrad, Tel. 01 41 09 99 99. In the heart of the Parc Ile St. Germain, it’s not the easiest place to get to without a car (your best bet is the RER C to Issy Val de Seine (about 20 min from St Michel) then a 15 min walk or taxi) but well worth the trip, especially on a nice day when you can enjoy a walk around the park before or after. Beautiful setting with huge glassed-in and outdoor terraces. Large menu that’s cheaper than you might expect for a place that’s rather fancy like this.

A Priori Thé

Tea/French (lunch/brunch):

 A Priori Thé (2nd) 35 Galerie Vivienne (off rue des Petits-Champs), Tel. 01 42 97 48 75. Innovative and tasty brunch—à la carte for €14-€16 euros but it’s worth it to get the full €30 brunch on Sundays and don’t miss the real American cheesecake. When you reserve, ask for a seat in the (covered) courtyard (though be warned there’s no heat out there!)
• Marché des Enfants Rouges (3rd), 39 rue de Bretagne. Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8:30-1PM and 4PM-7: 30PM. Friday, Saturday- 8h30AM-1PM and 4PM-8PM. Sunday: 8:30AM–2PM The oldest food market in Paris (1615). It’s a normal market but also has some great lunch spots (mostly outdoor seating) for a variety of cuisines (Japanese, Carribean, Italian, Middle Eastern, etc.)
• L’Heure Gourmande (6th) 22, passage Dauphine, Tel. 01 46 34 00 40. Hours: Mon. to Sun. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Cozy interior and nice, quiet terrace on the passage. Great for tea or hot chocolate.
• Café at the Petit Palais (8th), Avenue Winston Churchill, Tel. 01 53 43 40 00. The food is a bit pricey and not the best selection, but if you are going to the Petit Palais anyways for an exhibition, it’s worth it to stop off for a glass of wine/coffee at the café—it’s one of the nicest terraces in Paris.
• Hotel Amour (9th), 8 rue Navarin, Tel.: 01 48 78 31 80. A great pick for Sunday brunch. (See above under “French”).


• Chez Lena et Mimile (5th)—see above under “French”.


• Chez Lena et Mimile (5th)—see above under “French”.
• Il Sorrentino (7th) 4 rue de Monttessuy, Tel.: 01 45 55 12 50. Great penne all’arrabbiata (which I always get with a Nero d’Avola wine) and pizza with truffle oil. Famous for the pastas with cognac/grappa and foie gras prepared in a bowl of parmesan cheese (at least one person in your party must order this!) But save room for the tiramisu and zabaglione desserts. There are only four or five tables outside on the sidewalk (reserve in advance), but at least half of your party will have a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.

Late Night:

• Le Pub St. Germain (6th), 17, rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, Tel.: 01 43 29 38 70. Serves food 24 hours. Good place to sit and have a drink, though it can be noisy. The food (mix of French, pub food, Italian, salads, sandwiches, etc.) is a bit hit or miss but can be quite good—go for the mushroom risotto if you’re inclined—probably the best food on the left bank after 11pm, but be prepared for horrible service. On the several occasions I have tried to order a burger without mayo or “special sauce” (i.e. mayo) it’s turned into a full-fledged argument. In nice weather, you can sit at one of their tables on the atmospheric old cobblestone passage on the back side of the restaurant.

Ice Cream:

• Grom (6th) 81 rue de Seine. Grom is pretty close to the real thing and has a few tables outside on rue de Seine for great people watching.


• Le Café Marly (1st) in the Louvre (Tel. 01 49 26 06 60, technically 93 Rivoli but it’s in the courtyard of the Louvre by the big glass pyramid). (See above under “French”).
• Les Pipos (5th) at the corner of the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève and rue de L’Ecole Polytechnique, in front of the Place de l’Ecole Polytechnique. A good pick for wine & latin quarter ambience (though serves food as well). Outdoor tables along this young and lively square offer great people watching opportunities.
• Ralph Lauren (6th) 173 Boulevard St Germain, Tel. 01 44 77 76 00.  The setting for food or just drinks is unbeatable, both inside and out.  Sit back and relax on one of the sofas of the large, fancy terrace, or try the wood-paneled bar inside.  If you’re lucky, they will give you some homemade caramel popcorn with your drinks.  The only caveat–you need to arrive during non-meal times if you are just looking for a tea or glass of wine.
• Le Bar du Marché (6th), 75 rue de Seine, Tel. 01 43 26 55 15. A super lively terrace for people watching.
• La Palette (6th), 43 Rue de Seine. French brasserie atmosphere, good for low key sit-down drinks and the large terrace. Though be warned, the terrace can get quite crowded in good weather.
• Apicius (8th), 20, Rue d’Artois, Tel. 01 43 80 19 66. A restaurant/tea room/bar in an old château (though modern décor inside). Great for a drink on the terrace on a summer evening. Closed weekends (open Mon-Fri Noon-3:30pm, 6:45pm-1am).
• Le Déli-cieux (9th) 64 Boulevard Haussmann, Tel. 01 42 82 62 76. This roof top terrace above Le Printemps department store has basic cafeteria food and drink options but the view of Paris from way up there is spectacular. Don’t forget your camera!
• Hôtel Raphael (16th), 17 avenue Kléber. Very expensive but the rooftop restaurant/bar is a great experience on a warm day/evening.
• La Gare (16th), 19 chaussee Muette, Tel 01 42 15 15 31. Restaurant and bar, nice modern décor, great terrace out back.
• Rosa Bonheur (19th)—see above under “French” above.

Where Next?

My goal for this summer is to visit these terraces: Maison de l’Amérique Latine (7th arr.), Café Jacquemart-André (8th arr.), Salon de thé at the Musée de la Vie Romantique (9th arr.), Bistro des Dames (18th arr.) and Da Vincent Cozzoli (19th arr. in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont).

Have you tried any of these? Which would you recommend? Where is your favorite terrace in Paris?


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