Berges de Seine

The Berges de Seine (the Banks of the River Seine) describes the area striping the river Seine, which bisects the city into the Right Bank and Left Bank. As such, the parts worth visiting span several different neighborhoods and arrondissements. Let’s break it down in a way that makes it easy to pick and choose without wandering.
(Although Paris is THE city for the wanderer…)

The Waterfront is a State of Mind.

You know how it is, the weath­er is just right… when you want to be on the water­front you want to be on the water­front .

It’s a human impulse dat­ing back to sin­gle-celled organ­isms strug­gling forth from the muck in search of a good French guinguette (open air resto-bar) and a frosty beer in July. 

Let’s do this — start­ing from the east (younger , cool­er, et voilà… cheap­er) and mov­ing west (more posh, more his­toric, waaay more touristy as you are now near the mon­u­ments like the Eif­fel Tow­er and Arc de Tri­om­phe, more con­ser­v­a­tive and old­er and vast­ly more pricey to go out).

Yet the water­front is the great uni­fi­er — where all walks of Parisian life stake a spot for a pic­nic or kick off their shoes and take in the sun.

When the weath­er is nice, the Berges du Seine are sim­ply the place to be. (Or even when it’s not so nice…). To be free of cars and just watch­ing Paris throw it’s green and it’s gold against the water and the water respond to Paris with glit­ter and light …When I catch those moments — that’s when I feel like the luck­i­est girl alive.

These are fun­da­men­tal human urges: to pic­nic, to bike, to have din­ner on a peniche — a boat moored to the dock. Or to rollerblade, a thing that’s bring­ing even more 90’s back to Paris than all the mom jeans ever could (I just bought actu­al 1980‑s rain­bow roller skates so watch out for me I might mow you down….2020 made me WEIRD.)

Bonjour, East Side

The East water­front, from around the Hôtel de Ville to Gare d’Auster­litz and Bib­lio­thèque Mit­terand, are where you’ll find the peniche scene in full force (well, unless you ven­ture to the hid­den — to out­siders — nooks and cran­nies of Paris like the Canal Our­cq scene).


A peniche is a long, stur­dy, riv­er boat made for nar­row French water­ways that, in Paris, is often per­ma­nent­ly retired from freight haul­ing, and has been moored to a neigh­bor­hood with a robust nightlife. In true Parisian style, many have been turned into places to eat and drink, or to dance and take in art and cin­e­ma. (As we most­ly inhab­it micro-apart­ments like Hong Kon­gaise or New York­ers, we are most­ly found out of our homes. )

The East side of the Berges de Seine has more con­tem­po­rary archi­tec­ture and bars cater­ing to stu­dents, like the Crous peniche and guingette, the vibe is more of the youth­ful ruckus that comes with cheap drinks and every­one gun­ning to get laid instead of get­ting Miche­lin stars…

Hello, Westside

Can you see the Eif­fel Tow­er? Now it’s time to get picky as many of the places you see will be tar­get­ed at tourists. Only the Eif­fel Tow­er itself gets a pass for this, obvi­ous­ly you need to go there right? But who wants to spend €12 on a cup of tea?


If you would like to have lunch, din­ner, or drinks in view of the Eif­fel Tow­er or anoth­er Paris icon, this requires some plan­ning. Luck­i­ly you have our tire­less cura­tion on which to lean…

The Breakdown

Most of the restau­rants near the Hôtel de Ville (3rd arrondisse­ment) side of the Berges are over­priced and mediocre but great for a drink when the sun is set­ting — you’ll feel like the luck­i­est human alive when the sum­mer sun sets in an orange sher­bet Paris sky (at least I do.) But again, wine is a fac­tor so who is to judge what kind of episode this is… a glass of rosé in hand and a spot on the water, what more could you ask for? 

As I men­tioned, for bet­ter din­ing options ven­ture up (or down, as it were)  and away from the water­front as it’s not known for the best food. And why waste even one meal in Paris where you just have to know where to look to find mem­o­rable meals at every price point. (No joke…)

For more and bet­ter din­ing, if you are near Hôtel de Ville (3rd/2nd arr.) walk north­wards, just past the Hôtel de Ville (which is not a hotel at all but our City Hall where Anne Hidal­go, our first female may­or, rules with an iron fist. Total­ly j/k she’s cool. She’s respon­si­ble for damn-near turn­ing Paris into Ams­ter­dam. For bike lanes…not drugs. Sor­ry to get you excit­ed, we got hugs not drugs. Still a bit con­ser­v­a­tive here in that regard… ) 


Above the Berges de Seine in the cen­ter of the city, the splen­dor of two of Paris’ best neigh­bor­hoods for food awaits you: Chatelet/Les Halles (the ancient “bel­ly” of Paris) and Le Marais, the historic/gay/Jewish/fashion dis­trict (talk about intersectionality).


If you are clos­er to the Eif­fel Tow­er, ven­ture towards the lit­tle “food-truck »-style restau­rant shacks just east of the Pont Alexan­dre III bridge (Brit­tany crêpes and Jampi ice cream are our #1 choice at Food Briezh) . (Skip the Alexan­dre III restau­rant, they changed own­ers dur­ing the recent world ~excite­ment~ and now it’s not as good as it was. (It’s Paris, don’t sac­ri­fice even one lunch to medi­oc­rity…)

If you are near Alexan­dre III bridge, lunch at the Petit Palais is an unfussy, place-your-order-at-the-counter-affair, but in the gar­den of a muse­um-palace so, yeah, it’s plas­tic-tray but Paris-style. (Lunch only and yay the muse­um is free.)

 
For a more clas­sic, sit-down expe­ri­ence, ven­ture south­wards and inland towards the Fontaine de Mars on Rue St. Dominique — that’s where the locals are hid­ing from the tourists! Espe­cial­ly at Les Cocottes de Cris­t­ian Con­stant. I per­son­al­ly love sit­ting at one of the spots around the foun­tain. There are lit­tle pock­ets for the locals, even near the world’s most famous mon­u­ment! Act like you belong…

Bars + Clubs

Rosa Bon­heur sur Seine

Port des Invalides, Quai d’Or­say (7th arr. West side)

Con­corde Atlantique

Wan­der­lust

32 Quai d’Austerlitz (13th arr.)

Le Flow

4 Porte des Invalides (7th arr. West Side)

La Javelle Guinguette

Resto-Bars

Petit Bain

7 Port de la Gare (13th arr.)

Bateau el Alamein

10 Port de la Gare (13th arr.)

Café Oz Rooftop

34 Quai d’Austerlitz (13th arr.)

Debonair Café

36 Quai d’Austerlitz (13th arr.)

La Barge du Crous

Rosa Bon­heur sur Seine

Le Cap­i­taine Fracasse

Food Breizh

Moz­za & Co.

Mai­son Maison

Cruises

Paris Water Way

Bateaux Parisiens

Bateaux-Mouch­es

Bato­bus

Vedettes du Pont Neuf

Museums + Art Spaces

Fluc­tu­art

2 Port Gros Cail­lou (7th arr.)

Hotels

OFF Paris Seine

86, Quai d’Austerlitz (13th arr.)