If outside is your place, then a restaurant’s rooftop or terrace is where you ought to be. These Paris restaurants boast exquisite rooftops (THE! VIEWS!) or terraces (THE! PEOPLE! WATCHING!) on top of a delicious menu.
Yeah, you can probably guess where this place is and why the view is so killer. Located at the foot of Sacré-Cœur (surprise surprise!), the Cœur Sacré bar/restaurant (mainly bar) is on the top floor of the L’Espace Montmartre, a white, circular building that also houses a coffee shop and a gallery. Freshly opened with a VIP-lounge vibe, Cœur Sacré has a pretty up-and-close view of the majestic Sacré-Cœur on one end of its panoramic terrace, and the entire, very flat city at its disposal on the other (Eiffel Tower included). The fresh Italian-Mexican small plate cuisine offered is just one more perk in a long, long line of perks.
On the 6th floor of the unmarked industrial building known as Le Perchoir there’s a restaurant called La Table. Its perks include large windows, a minimalistic style, ease of reservations, and a larger menu than the bar. However, it’s the 7th floor of Le Perchoir that steals the show. It’s an intimate, rustic rooftop bar with a 360 degree view of all things Paris and an electric clientele. The lines to get in may be long, the quest for reservations may be impossible, the food offerings at the bar are slim (though very interestingly range from Korean chicken, to empanadas, to a middle-eastern blend of challah, tahini, and harissa), but once you’re in and settled with your drink, you can’t help but relax and enjoy the stunning view of your monument of choice.
It’s just as pricey as all those other bar/resto/let’s‑gawk-at-the Eiffel Tower-while-eating-caviar-like-it’s‑soup kind of places, but somehow, Perruche has a more quaint, attainable feel. Maybe it’s the cute yellow pillows that dot every white-clothed mini table, or maybe it’s the fact that Perruche is on the rooftop of one of the most popular department stores in Paris, Printemps Haussmann, and not a luxury hotel. Either way, Perruche offers fantastic seafood-leaning, Franco-Italian cuisine (with plenty of vegetarian options) in both their art deco-esque restaurant or their greenery-graced rooftop with, yes, a pretty good view of the Eiffel Tower. Turn the other way however, and you’ll also see a stunning Opéra Garnier rise from the sea of buildings, and that’s pretty unique.
ADDRESS: Printemps de l’Homme, 2 Rue du Havre 9th floor (9th arr.)
MÉTRO: Ternes (line 2), Chaussée d’Antin La Fayette (lines 7, 9), or Saint-Augustin (line 9)
The vibe of Restaurant Edgar can be summarized in their signature color of choice; a medium aqua blue. Trendy, youthful, and downright determined to emulate the swinging sixties, Restaurant Edgar is housed in an old textile factory in a part of the 2nd arrondissement called “Little Egypt,” and is particularly known for its sprawling terrace that spills out onto the neighboring square. For about 20€ a dish (30 total for brunch), Edgar offers an “ode to salt” menu of bistro-style seafood with the occasional carnivore dish peppered in. The cooking and the atmosphere are both phenomenal, and the terrace is the perfect jovial people-watching perch.
The Hotel Räphael is located steps from the Arc de Triomphe (safely beyond the unruly giant traffic circle), and has, you guessed it, fantastic views of pretty much everything. Their rooftop terrace, La Terrasse (original), has an up-close-and-personal view of the iron giant itself on one side, and a view of a pretty incredible stretch from the Arc de Triomphe all the way to Sacré Cœur on the other. La Terrasse serves a small plates menu all day with everything from eggs to caviar for lunch, dinner, and monument-watching snacks. It’s a bit pricey for appetizers, but let’s be real, you’re paying for the view.
Steps from the overcrowded tourist hub of Sacré Cœur is a small slice of paradise known as Chez Plumeau. As convenient as it is idyllic, Chez Plumeau serves classic French cuisine on a gorgeous terrace under a low-hanging, hundred-year-old wisteria tree. When they’re not serving beef tartare or duck tournedos, Chez Plumeau taps into their cabaret history to host jazz concerts and plays.
Le Pavillon des Canaux has mastered multitasking. They’re a coffee shop, a co-working space, a community center that hosts cooking classes, and a real-life dollhouse. No, that last one isn’t officially on their résumé, but the cutesy-yet-chic décor gracing their charming two-story house right on the Canal de l’Orque hardly suggests anything else. In addition to all of these perks, they have a delightful and kookily decorated glass-enclosed terrace where you can sip coffee until well past midnight (depending on the day), or munch on some lentil stew or quiche of the day. It’s tranquil, it’s lovely, and the coffee isn’t too bad, either.
Founded in 1672 and situated at the top of Montmartre, Le Relais de la Butte has the great views of Paris without the rooftop restaurant price, plus an added homey, historic atmosphere. Le Relais de la Butte has a terrace of twenty or so close-knit tables perched right at the crest of the hill that offer cobblestone-laden views of Northern Paris and a peek at the uniform sprawl below. In terms of food, Le Relais de la Butte serves classic French dishes with a focus on regional cuisine including sardines, snails, salmon, and plenty of beef. It’s a hot spot for those willing to brave the hike, so keep in mind that there are no reservations available for the terrace.
Buried underneath a pile of seasonally-changing draped flowers is Maison Sauvage, a health-forward restaurant with possibly the most otherworldly terrace in all of Paris. The carnival-esque cascade of flowers starts from Maison Sauvage’s third floor and just barely brushes the ground floor awning to create a spectacle impossible to miss, especially from the various tables scattered around the sidewalk. Open for three meals a day (and brunch), Maison Sauvage offers a sizable menu of trendy staples like avocado toast, quinoa bowls, and fish tacos. Be warned: tables inside their two-story dining room can easily be booked in advance, but the breathtaking terrace is first come, first served.
Founded in 1902, La Palette has a famous-artist-patron infused history almost stereotypical of the Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood (in this case, Pablo Picasso and Paul Cezanne among others), but unlike other cafes, it has a ubiquitous amount of artwork from the era in question on display in its back, landmark-designated room. There’s also the fabulously classic, classy, plant-adorned terrace to check out, also adjacent to some historic artwork etched into the windows. In terms of food, La Palette also differs from a lot of historical cafés by offering a paired down menu primarily consisting of fish and eggs (as well as some fish eggs, preferably with champagne), perfectly enjoyable on the charming, old-school terrace.
The rooftop terrace of the Brasserie Auteuil is so dreamy, with its ivy-entangled wooden beams, delicate decorations, sun-filled splendor, and rustic vibe, that the food served within it doesn’t matter much. Fortunately, Brasserie Auteuil offers fantastic classic Italian food featuring Burrata, pasta, pizza, beef, a selection of Italian desserts and sorbets, and a sizeable drink list from a sizeable bar. Getting a seat in the downstairs restaurant is easy enough, but to enjoy an afternoon on the terrace that feels like a vacation away from the city, be sure to book well in advance.
The Hôtel Particulier Montmartre is the smallest, most private hotel in Paris (which does not stop them from being luxe as heck) with a fancy restaurant, Le Grand Salon, that, weather permitting, spills out into the largest hotel garden in Paris (make those contradictions make sense). The garden terrace has two parts: the retro greenhouse-like glass covered enclosure, and the smattering of delicate tables among the stunningly lush garden. No offense to the art-deco-like dining room, but this is where it’s at. Enjoy your high-class garden party paradise with a variety of high-class meals like beef carpaccio, Mediterranean octopus, and of course, brunch on Sundays.
With its large awning and sprawling terrace, Caffé Soprano resembles a classic French brasserie, but it’s actually an Italian restaurant. Caffé Soprano serves everything from bruschetta to calamari, from staggeringly varied pizza and pasta options to tiramisu. All this is available to eat on a lovely corner terrace in the heart of the Marais. It’s a great people-watching setup (and they also have a ton of gelato).
Café de Flore has THE Paris terrace. Add a cup of coffee (or wine), a steady hour or two of people watching, and a black-and-white Instagram filter and the perfect Parisian experience is within your grasp. Founded in 1887, Café de Flore has been a heaven for artists, writers, celebrities, and even fashion designers over the decades, particularly in the 1930s and 40s. Its timeless look and classy feel are perfect for a casual, leisurely, historic afternoon sandwich or salad, but if you’re feeling hungry and adventurous, try their specials.
Okay, here’s one you probably haven’t heard of yet: a floating culture center/concert venue docked on the Seine that triples as a rooftop (boat top?) bar/restaurant. Petit Bain describes its cuisine as “simple and friendly, ideal for before or after a concert,” but of course, the concert may very well occur simultaneously. Petit Bain’s bright yellow everything makes it pretty hard to miss, and its peaceful riverside service is available well into the early morning.
There’s great locations and then there’s flexing “Quai du Louvre” as your address. The hotel Cheval Blanc is on the left bank of the Seine and its gourmet rooftop restaurant will presumably have fantastic up-close views of the Louvre, the Tuileries, the Eiffel Tower, and most immediately, Notre Dame. Cheval Blanc’s food will be conceptual, delicious, and ridiculously expensive, but with views like this at the true epicenter of the city, it is wholeheartedly worth it.