From rooftops to sidewalk terraces, here are some of the best places in Paris to enjoy the cityscape and the people. After all, people-watching in Paris is part of the city's charm.
Best Cityscape Views of Paris
La Terrasse - Les Galeries Lafayette (40 Boulevard Haussmann; tel. 01/42-82-34-56; www.galerieslafayette.com; 9th arrondissement, Metro: Chaussée d'Antin) Store Hours: Mon-Sat: 9:30am-8pm; Thurs: until 10pm; closed Sun.
After shopping, head up to La Terrasse for a view of Paris and to remind yourself why you made the trip in the first place. The new restaurant, which has been getting good reviews, is only open seasonally (Monday to Saturday from noon to 6pm), but you can enjoy the view from the 7th-floor terrace anytime.
Le Déli-Cieux - Printemps Beauté/Maison (64 Boulevard Haussmann; tel. 01/42-82-62-76; www.printemps.com; 9th arrondissement, Metro: Havre-Caumartin) Store Hours: Mon-Sat: 9:30am-8pm; Thurs: until 10pm; closed Sun.
Le Déli-Cieux is a self-service café with everything from fruit salad to champagne. There's a glass-enclosed section, in case of rain. Even if you don't feel like eating, you can head up to the terrace for a panoramic view of Paris. The terrace is in the Printemps Beauté/Maison building. Take the elevator to the 8th floor, then the escalator to the 9th.
Arc de Triomphe (Place Charles de Gaulle-Etoile; tel. 01/55-37-73-77; www.arcdetriompheparis.com; 8th/16th arrondissement, Metro: Charles de Gaulle-Etoile)
You've photographed the Arc de Triomphe, commemorating French victories and honoring fallen soldiers, but did you know there's a terrace on top with spectacular views of Paris? Inside, there's also a fascinating, multimedia exhibit and the eternal flame on the Unknown Soldier's tomb is rekindled every day at 6:30pm. (Don't walk across the Etoile traffic circle. There's an underground tunnel, accessed from the Wagram exit of the Metro, on the Avenue de la Grande Armée).
Best Paris City Views for People-Watching
La Brasserie - Publicis Drugstore (133 av. des Champs-élysées; tel. 01/44-43-77-64; www.publicisdrugstore.com; 8th arrondissement, Metro: Franklin D. Roosevelt or Champs-élysées-Clémenceau) Terrace open April to October. Weekdays, 8am-2am; Weekends, 10am-2am.
There are many cafés along the Champs-Élysées, but La Brasserie's sidewalk terrace has a splendid view of the Arc de Triomphe and it's great for people-watching. Also, it's a good excuse to explore the Publicis Drugstore. Yes, there's a pharmacy but this is a far cry from an American "drugstore." This one has two movie theatres, several trendy restaurants, a gourmet shop and delicatessen, an international newsstand, a bookstore with English-language books, a cosmetics counter, a radio broadcast studio, and a wine cellar with free tastings.
Le Café Marly - Musée du Louvre (93 rue de Rivoli, Cour Napoléon du Louvre; tel. 01/49-26-06-60; 1st arrondissement, Metro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre) Hours: 8am-2am, daily.
In terms of museum cafés, this is one of the snazziest. Located under the arcades in the Richelieu wing of the Louvre, Café Marly's terrace overlooks the Napoleon courtyard and the I.M. Pei-designed pyramid. In addition to the stunning view, there's excellent people-watching as this café is popular with chic Parisians. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. After waiting in line to see the Mona Lisa, perhaps a drink is all you need to relax and contemplate great art. (No need to pay the museum fee to go to the café; there's a separate entrance).
Where to Go for the Best Eiffel Tower View
From the rooftop terrace of Les Ombres' Salon de Thé (www.lesombres-restaurant.com; Tea Room, open daily 3pm-5:30pm) there's an incredible view of the Tower.
There's also a nice Tower view from the ground-level terrace of the Café Branly (www.lesombres-restaurant.com). You can also just sit and enjoy the view for free in the garden area.
The restaurants and garden are accessible without paying admission to the museum. But you'll find that the Quai Branly, which features the art and culture of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, is well worth a visit.
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