Parisian Summer Secret: 5 Terraces in Paris to Visit This Summer

A chair sitting in front of a table

In France, a terrasse, is a flat area outside of a cafe or restaurant where people can sit, eat, drink, and enjoy the outdoors—a sort of outdoor bar and terrace combination. Although Paris may be known for its hot summers and crowded summer cobblestones, terraces are a classic means of trading the chaos for unique views and picturesque green spaces. Terraces, some on rooftops and others adjacent to unique historical buildings, can be found across the Parisian arrondissements. So, here are five terraces, from Montparnasse to Meudon, to visit this summer for your breezy lunch or evening apéro.

1. Le Girafe

Girafe is nestled in France’s Cité de l’Architecture at the Palais de Chaillot, with an iconic view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine river. The terrace takes inspiration from its architectural surroundings, with art-deco decor — cream benches, cane chairs, and 1930’s lighting— all designed by Joseph Dirand. Girafe’s menu is strongly cemented in french seafood culture: sea bream ceviche with coconut and lime; langoustine carpaccio with caviar; fried squid made with candied peppers, chorizo, and Espelette pepper; lobster served with linguine, tomatoes, herbs; and sole meunière.

2. Guinguette on Top

The Eiffel Tower on the left, the Pantheon on the right, the Invalides to the front, the Sacré-Cœur on the horizon… That is the breathtaking 360-degree view from Guinguette on Top, perched 210 meters above Paris on the roof of Tour Montparnasse. This terrace is surrounded by nothing but sky, and creates a small world of its own, with wooden picnic benches, red and white tablecloths, and surrounding greenery. Every evening, Guingette on Top has live performers of jazz, funk, and electronic music for you to enjoy as you sip on an apéro with friends. Guingette is all about togetherness, and their menu is a tapas-style sharing menu: eggplant caviar; sea urchin coral tarama; creamy burratina, bresaola, and arugula; a cheese and charcuterie board; caramel muffins and semi-salted butter.

3. Apicius’s garden

On the Apicius terrace, you’re just steps away from the Champs-Elysées, yet you feel as though you’ve escaped the city chaos and escaped to the campgne, breathing in fresh French air. This terrace is a lush oasis populated by green alcoves hidden beside an 18th-century mansion house. This 1,500-square-meter jewel of a natural oasis invites you to have a chic apéro and listen to acoustic concerts. Apicious’ food and drink menus are also dedicated to celebrating summer flavors: with everything from pineapple tomato carpaccio with lime and sea bass tartar to Rosé and hibiscus cocktails.

5. Quai de Meudon

Quai de Meudon stands in what was once Meudon station—a spot built by Gustav Eiffel and his team for the 1889 World Fair. The building, listed as a historic monument, was renovated in 2015  and became the Quai de Meudon.  The terrace looks out over the islands of the Seine and the Seine Musicale performance space. In the open kitchen, chef Olivier Lamy conjures up tradition in a contemporary fashion: duck foie gras served with green tomato marmalade; salmon tataki with sesame and black radish; sea bass à la plancha, shiitake risotto in jus de volaille; lamb confit with spices and roasted carrots; apricot tarte topped with frozen yogurt.
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