Paris Secrets: The Best Terraces on the Right Bank
It’s a fait accompli: whenever the Parisian sun gods grant the sun-deprived city dwellers a full day of blue skies, the entire populace seems to flock to the closest terrace to capitalize on the sunshine. It is with the warmest plaisir that we divulge yet another round of Paris secrets—this time the city’s best terraces on the right bank—to ensure that you, too, can partake in this sunny ritual. After all, you never know when the sun will bestow its rays on the City of (Nocturnal) Light again.
Le Café Père et Fils
86, rue Montmartre, in the 2nd Arrondissement. 09 62 61 64 42.
Open Mon–Sat, 6 a.m.–2 a.m.; Sun, 7 a.m.–9 p.m.
Located on the western boundary of the Montorgueil neighborhood, this belle terrasse presents the perfect protoype for Parisian terraces. Unlike the establishments that line the rue Montorgeuil, le Café Père et Fils has a wraparound terrace that is bathed in sunshine even at prime happy-hour times. And speaking of happy hour, specials range from a pint of Kronenbourg at 4 euros to a cocktail du jour at 6 euros. While this spot seems consistently packed, it’s so large that the odds of catching someone leaving are in your favor.
Le Café de l’Institut Suédois
11, rue Payenne, in the 3rd Arrondissement. 01 44 78 80 20.
Open Tues–Sun, noon–6 p.m.
Often Parisians need a little nudge or, better yet, a Swedish shove to come out of their stoic shells. Perhaps we owe it to the yummy selection of Swedish pastries or maybe even the cool art exhibitions, but whatever it may be, the Café de l’Institut Suédois has successfully transformed its cobblestoned courtyard scattered with Ikea furniture into a convivial and trendy Marais hangout, where (sober!) Parisians readily share tables with strangers and even (brace yourselves) chat them up. If you don’t manage to squeeze into one of the tables on your first try, you can always check out one of the free and often very interesting exhibitions, or take your cake across the street to the Musée Carnavalet’s lovely garden (another great Paris secret) while you wait.
Le Comptoir Général
80, quai de Jemmapes, in the 10th Arrondissement. 01 44 88 20 45.
Opening hours vary.
Instead of going out to the terrace, step into it at le Comptoir Général. Indeed, the junglelike courtyard in the middle of this shabby-chic greenhouse seems to swallow up 80 percent of the intriguing space. Right and left, branches shoot up through openings in wooden floor panels, dangle down into a checkered hall full of mix-and-match vintage furniture or brush up against the huge windows. At any given time, this hub of social and cultural exchange organizes film screenings, informational gatherings and fund-raising soirées. But patrons don’t seem to require an official reason to savor a Sunday brunch or sip on a fresh ti’ punch (5 euros) at the bar of this socially conscious venue.
148, rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, in the 10th Arrondissement. 09 81 29 83 38.
May–September: open daily, 10 a.m.–midnight; October–April: open Tues–Sun, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Bask in the sun at the very trendy Café A, located between the Gare de l’Est and the canal Saint-Martin. Today this former convent houses the café as well as the Maison de l’Architecture, creating a contemporary warehouse feel. Deck chairs sprawled out on a pebble ground temp patrons to read (or catch up on some z’s) under a blue sky. Once you’ve soaked up enough sun, we suggest you check out the architecture exhibitions at this favorite among Paris secrets.
In the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 2, avenue des Cascades, in the 19th Arrondissement. 01 42 00 00 45.
Open Wed–Sun, noon–midnight.
We just can’t get enough of this all-time Parisian favorite. Located on a hilltop in the scenic Buttes Chaumont park, the terrace at Rosa Bonheur offers a breathtaking panorama of the city that remains nothing short of extraordinary. With an energetic atmosphere fueled by old-school tunes, and vins de maison ringing in at 3.50 euros a glass, we can’t help but join the sweeping applause. Arrive early to beat the throngs of Parisians queuing up at this fun-filled spot for apéros under the sun.
Editor’s note: Are you a gourmand, foodie or someone who just wants to taste as much French food as possible? Take one or more of our DIY foodie tours, conveniently packed for you in a set!