Dining Waterfront And In Style In Paris

One of the most appealing ways to enjoy the Paris scenery is to opt for a restaurant that affords waterfront dining. The two Central Paris water views are the River Seine and the Canal St. Martin. The former now boasts a riverfront pedestrian area that spans both sides, Rive Gauche and Rive Droite. These have been turned into kilometers-long pedestrian areas welcoming to families, bicyclists, sunbathers and picnickers. This is the perfect place to stop and pick up a burger at PNY, parked just outside Faust. 

A sparkling new gem along the waterfront is housed in an old friend of a building, namely the Maison de la Radio France. Its name is Radio Eat, which pretty much sums it all up. The views of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine below the 3rd Floor eatery give a posh spice to the Asian-fusion flair cuisine. The bar, just one more floor up, is a perfect choice for a before or after drink. 

The Canal St. Martin area is the place to be for hipsters. This stretch on either side of Nola (the upstairs elegant restaurant of Two Stories), Louisiana-Creole themed and offering California wines to go with that Gumbo, is stacked with fun bars alongside it. It also sports its own luxurious bar with wall-filled windows for great views onto the Canal below that are sure to enhance the flavor of that French 75 cocktail.

Another elegant and haute cuisine pick on this list is Table du Flow. This restaurant, helmed by Chef Geoffrey Rembert, offers direct views onto the Pont Alexandre III and the Grand Palais, both enhanced by the rays of the setting sun. Flow is a barge that is parked along the Seine, the fanciest one on this area just below the Alexander III Bridge. On the top floor is a bar that boasts the aforementioned views but also includes the Eiffel Tower. Below is a nightclub. And outside, along the riverbanks is their casual dining. This restaurant, however, is anything but casual so expect outstanding wine lists, superior dining and casual class. 

For a kick-off-your-heels experience, head on down towards the riverfront area just in front of the Ile St. Louis (just below the Hotel de Ville). Here you will find yet another stretch of outdoor dining options, one of the most attractive being the Peniche Marcounet. Always packed and on Sunday afternoons it even boasts outdoor swing dancing (not obligatory, but certainly optional). The food here is outdoor bbq style, accompanied by chilled bottles of wine or cocktails like the famous Apero Spritzer.  This is a group-friendly option and absolutely perfect when the weather is good and a bit of live music is the order of the day. 

A classic dining option in Paris is, too, a dinner riverboat cruise. You just can't imagine how breathtaking the scenery along the banks of the River Seine is, the Ȋle-St.-Louis, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, the yachts parked across from Jardin des Plantes, and more, until you've actually seen it with your own eyes. Add the sparkle of sunset and twinkling stars - or the twinkling Eiffel Tower as it were - to that scenic panorama and you have the makings of one unforgettable evening.



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One of the best features about this newly created all-pedestrian zone along the banks of the River Seine, is that they have instantly been outfitted with dozens of eating establishments. So, even though myriad groups of people still pack their aperitif picnic baskets of cherry tomatoes, coldcuts, cheeses and chilled bottles of wine before heading down to this idyllic zone of leisure, you no longer need to. Because now there are dozens of super choices for food and drink on both sides of the river. From the Pont Des Arts to down past the Pont Marie; and from the Musee d'Orsay all the way down to the Eiffel Tower, you will find little riverside cafes, creperies, bars and lots of chairs and outdoor seating. This area has become one vast outdoor leisure zone, replete with satisfying choices for food and drink.

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The landscape artist Guillaume Le Jardinier helped create this little piece of floating paradise that stays docked at along the bank of the River Seine just underneath the Pont-Neuf, on Notre Dame side of the bridge. The restaurant features not just one, but two large terraces and is an ideal spot from which to admire the setting of the Parisian sun against a backdrop of all the beautiful bridges that span from that point all the way to the Eiffel Tower. Bistronomy is the best food description meaning you will find your basic bistro fare jazzed up a bit with finer products and a nouvelle cuisine touch. There's something about dining on this barge on the River Seine that sets it apart from the others. Maybe it's the location or maybe it's that the owners, Gregory Lentz and Jerome Schabanel, who also own Laperouse, seem to know what they're doing.

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Photo courtesy of Paige Donner copyright 2014 of FaustParis

You can take your street-vendor like food to go and sit inside Faust at their tables to enjoy it, or wander to the other side of the entrance where there is now a permanently installed outside bar where you can eat your PNY Burgers. While the interior is reserved mostly for clubbing and occasionally for dining, the outdoor seating is used as both a dining and drinking area. And be sure to check their FB page for updates as flashmobs of 300 and more gather to toast one another in this hottest of Paris hotspots on the banks of the Seine. Starting your evening here with a few drinks at the bar or out on the terrace overlooking the Seine is an utterly cinematic way to begin an oh-so-Parisian night of revelry.

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Waterfront dining at its best - cruising the Seine River lunch or dinner. This is one of those occasions when the rule of thumb, "you get what you pay for" doesn't apply. The food here is all cooked fresh on board and is occasionally even prepared by a Michelin-starred chef (ask at booking for this special calendared event). For example dinner choices are salmon served with lemon and dill sauce or poultry "supreme" served with tarragon sauce and oyster mushrooms. The dinner or brunch cruise itself lasts an hour and fifteen minutes so it's an excursion that is brief and to the point. The boat is sleek and comfortable with no comfort or luxury sacrificed. For these prices, you could get either a meal at a bistro or a cruise along the Seine, but here you get both.

Good weather outside and you've got picnic on your mind? This new outpost of an American original is located close enough to the new pedestrian-only Parc de Rives Seine (the walking/biking paths down by the river) that you can grab your vanilla or chocolate shakes and take them to go. And, they'll still be thick and frosty by the time you've parked yourself down by at this bucolic park by the River Seine. Deep in the burger fever that has ensconced Paris for several years now, this American classic has now opened up several locations in the span of as many months. But who doesn't love a good burger, some fries to go with that, ma'am, and a thick, frosty shake?

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Definitely the spot to be during the fair weather months, this barge parked next to the Pont Marie is a place to hang out, kick back some cold brews or chilled glasses of wine/ spritzers and soak in the ambiance. More or less nightly during the warmer months there is a jazz band or some kind of musical entertainment featured. This is the kind of place you want to hang out at with a group of friends or meet up with for light fare such as grilled chicken skewers, quinoa salad and chips and guacamole. On the weekends, there is swing dancing along side the barge which offers fantastic people watching. And once you've worked up your courage, plenty of music to lift those dancing feet of yours.

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Guy Savoy
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner

Located at the Monnaie de Paris, this celebrated restaurant serves contemporary haute cuisine in a just redone - though historical space - overlooking the Seine on the Quai Conti. The Monnaie de Paris is the oldest French institution and was founded in 864 under the reign of Charles II. It offers, now, in this newest incarnation, Guy Savoy's 3-star restaurant with a bonus of spectacular views overlooking the Seine. The interior design has notes of the theatrical, with tables placed just so, to capture the natural lighting. Salmon, flown in direct from Scotland, is served on its bed of ice at table, seasoned before your eyes with a triad of citrus before gingerly being sprayed with a consommé of citrus.

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This is Louisiana homestyle haute cuisine comfort cooking at its best. And it's right along the Canal St. Martin, the other waterfront in Paris. Now opened is the dinner-only restaurant that is casual-upscale and every bit as devoted to Louisiana-inspired dishes. Try the Gumbo made with quail or the specialty duck (the best duck in France) served with a grilled, bbq'd, smoked piece of sausage seasoned with tomato confit. And for sure don't even think about not trying their heirloom tomato salad or their peach dessert (which is a siren call for the pastry-chef Emma to come out and serve it to you herself). One of the partners here is a long-time Paris resident and American to boot. Maybe that's why her Jazz Brunch Saturdays are so beguilingly good? Another beacon is their cocktails and the old-world charm wooden balustrade bar, upstairs, at the entrance to the restaurant.

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Brand new and with striking views of the Eiffel Tower, this modern-chic venue has you dining in ultra-good vibrations. Literally. Here you are inside the Maison de La Radio France which is the building that houses dozens of recording rooms, concert stages and other high-tech spaces where France's prime radio shows are recorded and broadcast. The cuisine here is Asian-fusion so expect delights such as caramelized chicken served wrapped in a banana leaf with sticky rice and fresh pineapple. Or expect delicate slices of lamb served with an eggplant satay. A plentiful selection of fresh fruit juices compliment your meals, such as carrot-orange-ginger. Lunch time offers a practical set menu of the chef's creation which will have you in and out and satisfied in time for that afternoon conference call.

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Under the helm of Chef Geoffrey Rembert (La Tour d'Argent, Bristol) this oasis in a thriving hotspot offers gastronomic dining seasoned with breathtaking views over the Pont Alexander III, le Grand Palais and the gorgeous river Seine. Choose this for an elegant evening out with a loved one or dear friends. None of the clamor/party atmosphere from the riverfront crowds intrude upon you in here. And everything from the service, to the wine list to the inventive and masterfully flavorful dishes will have you smiling all through dinner and leaving you glowing afterwards. There is something intoxicating, also, to watching the unceasing parade of riverboats serenade you outside you as you dine.


Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige