I love living in a city like Paris but there are times when I crave the feeling of lounging in my backyard, under a tree, with a drink and a good book. Summertime back home in Canada often involves attending barbecues or bringing dinner out into the garden to enjoy with family and friends. Yes, there are many beautiful parks where you can have a picnic of your own, but there are few restaurants or cafés where you can order something nice to eat and enjoy it, surrounded by trees and plants, without leaving the city. Most cafés/restaurants in Paris do have their terrasses but they are often on the sidewalk of sometimes busy streets with cars or masses of people passing by. Don’t get me wrong, people watching in Paris is super fun, except when you feel the need for a little vegetation and an escape from the noise and frenzy of the city. For those moments, I would like to share with you a list of some relatively unknown places where you can buy food or drinks and enjoy them in a garden-like environment without leaving the comfort of the péripherique…as let’s face it: most Parisians don’t enjoy venturing out into the suburbs if they don’t have to!!
So, here they are:
A la Folie: BBQ and party under the treesHidden at the North end of the Parc de la Villette, this bar and club is the place to be this summer and fall! It has a huge terrace surrounded by trees and complete with large picnic tables, perfect for meeting up with friends after work for a drink. If that wasn’t already good enough, they also have some delicious food choices, including an outdoor barbecue that cooks up tasty dishes of pork, sea bream, veggies, and a large selection of beef, available in three sizes: “un peu” (a little),” beaucoup” (a lot), and “à la folie” (after the name of this establishment, which roughly translates to madly…or in this case a crazy amount (1kg) of meat). If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, they also have delicious salads, sandwiches, and baked treats. Oh! And did I mention that there’s a dance floor inside that really heats up in the evening? Basically, this is THE place to spend a night (or until 2am, when it closes) eating, drinking and/or dancing under the trees.
Parc de La Villette
26 avenue Corentin Cariou
Café Renoir: A charming place to read a bookI only discovered this lovely spot at the top of Montmartre recently but it was definitely love at first sight. Perhaps it was the fact that Auguste Renoir (one of my favorite artists) painted two of his masterpieces while on the premises, or that Sacre-Coeur (my favorite building in Paris) is located right behind it, or maybe it is simply because the garden has several areas to relax and hide from the hectic outside world. You also have a wonderful view of the sloping Clos Montmartre vineyard, that borders the garden, which is rather unique. Although you do have to pay a 2-4 Euro fee to enter the garden, I believe that it is well worth it. Their café offers a variety of drinks as well as cakes, pastries and light lunches, perfect for a chill afternoon of drawing, writing or reading (trust me, you will feel inspired). If you’re an art lover, then a tour of the museum will also interest you, as Montmartre’s history is retold through various exhibits and you can even visit Renoir’s atelier and travel back in time.
Musée de Montmartre et Jardins Renoir
12 Rue Cortot
+33 (0) 1 49 25 89 39
Les Mondes Bohèmes: Eating in your backyardI have been here several times (and have even celebrated my Birthday here), so I can safely say that this is one of my favorite restaurants to visit in the summer. It is all about the outdoor covered terrace that is shaded by the canopy of two large trees and tangled vines and bordered by bamboo plants. You really feel as if you are in a friend’s garden, with the hanging flower pots and the colorful watering cans and sparkling lights only adding to the overall magic that is this spot. The food itself is also very good. They serve classic bistro dishes like burgers, steaks, salads and roasted camembert cheese (yessss please) at reasonable prices! They also have a long drink menu to please everyone, so don’t be surprised if you end up spending the entire evening here. A true hidden gem in the East of Paris!
31 rue des Vignoles
+33 (0)1 43 48 69 38
Hôtel particulier Montmartre: Fancy brunch or cocktails in a secret gardenThis luxurious hotel and its garden are like something from a fairytale! Located in Montmartre and only accessible via a private passageway (you have to ring a doorbell to even have access to the passageway) this garden is the definition of secluded. I admit that this is the priciest option on my list (with brunch being 38 euros/person), but for a special occasion this place is sure to impress. Plus, as staying at the hotel isn’t an option for me (until of course I win the lottery…*it will so happen one day*), being able to visit the gardens for a coffee or tea is one way to enjoy this special place in Montmatre without going broke. You can even drop by for a cocktail in the evening between 6pm and 2am, as they have a very sexy cocktail bar that opens up into the gardens. And Pssss: don’t miss a very lovely Eiffel Tower viewing spot from just outside the hotel gates!
Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot
+33 (0)1 53 41 81 40
Musée de la vie romantique: Tea or coffee with someone specialMost of you have probably already visited this salon de thé as it is always mentioned in the “top romantic places in Paris” lists, but if you haven’t yet… well, what are you waiting for? While the garden itself is very small, if you are lucky enough to grab a table, you can enjoy a coffee with a tartine or piece of cake surrounded by rose bushes, shrubs and trees. It has a very Romeo and Juliette feeling to it…but without the epic tragedy at the end! While you’re there, you might as well check out the small but elegant museum, as it displays some pretty furniture, jewelery, and works of art from the Romantic period.
16, rue Chaptal
With this list you can definitely find some shade on a hot day in Paris. I think I’m going to head out to one of these places now! 😉 If you know of any other restaurants/cafés in Paris that are hidden in gardens or surrounded by trees, I would love to hear from you! 🙂