Best Waterfront Dining in Paris

Watch The Boats Go By As You Sip Something Refreshing In Paris

A classic dining option in Paris is 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 - from the river! 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. For a twist on the theme, head on over to La Defense and dine "waterfront" next to the Bassin Takis at Octopus.

For a kick-off-your-heels experience, head on down towards the riverfront area just in front of the Ile St. Louis. Here you can sit, sip and watch the boats go by at Le Flore en L'Isle. Or go down below to the quay where you will find yet another stretch of outdoor dining options, like the Maquereaux and the Peniche Marcounet. Always packed on weekend afternoons, they even boast outdoor swing dancing (not obligatory, but certainly optional). The food here is outdoor bbq style and fresh oysters, 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. 

For waterfront dining in Paris,  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. 

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. 

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.


La Defense

The La Defense neighborhood of Paris is known for its high rise skyscraper buildings and its modern, NYC feel. With this kind of landscape, it isn't surprising that there are tens of thousands of office workers who all need to chill with a refreshing drink after work before wrestling with the crowds on the metro. Octopus, a partnership between the venerable Maison Rostang and the hipster Liquid Corporation, is now an integral part of this equation. It's located just next to the Bassin Takis, a shallow city block large wading pool that emanates a refreshing mist baths every few minutes. The freshwater mist is so thick that only it clears can you see the dozens of children frolicking in the shallow pool in summertime. On the menu here are cocktails and small bites. There's also beer on tap and a good selection of wines.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Sometimes it's best to get out of the city center and near a nice big expanse of refreshing water where you can nibble and sip.

Paige's expert tip: Your choice of over 35 small plates include signatures like sardine club sandwich, oysters, fried cheese nuggets and crispy crab cakes. Their cocktails are adventurous. For mains, you can have the signature lobster macaroni, a Rostang specialty, and also a choice of steak, chicken or fish. Dessert selections include Sophie's chocolate cake, since the esteemed chef Rostang's daughters have followed in his footsteps. And not to miss is the orange coulis creme brulee. When you're looking for a NYC feel here in Paris, and a fun soundtrack-infused watering hole that welcomes Parisians looking to bridge work and home commutes, this is a chill place to come and nibble/sip.

Read more about Octopus →

1er Arrondissement

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.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: It's great to have options. This is one of those quality options, offered by a smart entrepreneur, that easily fits into a tight time budget.

Paige's expert tip: Truly one of the best deals for dinner in Paris. Never mind that you get a great cruise along the Seine, too. The meal is memorable and Michelin-starred chef quality. Bonus: you get to have that romantic cruise along the Seine just as the sky twinkles into night time.

Read more about Paris en Scéne →

4éme Arrondissement

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.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: This leisure zone now offers dozens of affordable food and snacking choices, with gorgeous views to boot.

Paige's expert tip: No matter what you have a taste for, you will find it here on this vast pedestrian zone that now welcomes people along the banks of the Seine. Either sit at one of the cafes or take some treats to go. Plenty of cold drinks available, too (and even hot drinks for the colder weather).

Read more about Parc Rives de Seine →

7th Arondissement - Eiffel Tower
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.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Underneath the most beautiful bridge in Paris, the Pont Alexandre III, on the Rive Gauche side, there is now Faust featuring PNY Burgers.

Paige's expert tip: While the bar outside, in good weather, offers riverbank dining, just under the historic landmark bridge of Pont Alexandre III, you will find PNY burgers which stands for Paris New York. These are considered some of the best burgers in town and hands down California Dreaming is a must have. Though the restaurant has transformed into a club-only, the tables inside still offer views from their panoramic windows out onto the river just beside it.

Read more about Faust →

10éme Arrondissement

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.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: You sort of wonder why there isn't more Creole and Louisiana-inspired cooking in Paris, once you've eaten here. Well, no matter, now there's Nola.

Paige's expert tip: The restaurant's owners started a low-key cafe downstairs devoted to favorite Southern (American) dishes, hence called PoBoy, and then continued building their dream upward, literally. And Voila, here is the masterpiece gem, Nola, literally Louisiana along the Canal St. Martin.

Read more about Nola →

4éme Arrondissement

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.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Parked under the wish-fulfilling Pont Marie and offering views of the picturesque Ile St. Louis, this locale has it all in terms of festive ambiance.

Paige's expert tip: Not the place to be a shy wallflower, this is the kind of place that when you arrive, especially on a jampacked crowded weekend, you need to just grab yourself a table, then grab the server and tell him/her that you'd like that chilled bottle of wine brought to your table asap. And then hope that you get served. In the meantime, enjoy the live music and people watching.

Read more about Peniche Marcounet →

16th Arrondissement - Auteuil Pa

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.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Finally a restaurant at the Maison Radio France. This second floor venue sports a chic decor and Asian-fusion cuisine.

Paige's expert tip: Open for both lunch and dinner, now the in-the-know Maison de la Radio concert goers have a reason to linger before and after the concerts. There is, worth noting too, a bar upstairs that is open in the evenings now and also offers breathtaking River Seine and Eiffel Tower views.

Read more about Radio Eat →

1er Arrondissement

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.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: A floating garden oasis, this is a wonderful choice for cocktails and nibbles under the Pont Neuf.

Paige's expert tip: Entering inside is like being transported to a floating garden oasis. For discriminating tastes, this is a wonderful choice for cocktails and light dining. You can privatize this boat-barge and treat your guests to a riverfront view along the Seine while you dine in the open air. Or you can simply enjoy it for lunch or dinner.

Read more about Les Jardins du Pont-Neuf →

7th Arondissement - Eiffel Tower

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.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: This is a choice that fits the bil for a special occasion or romantic Parisian dining spot, as well as being waterfront.

Paige's expert tip: Best to arrive before sunset and take in that breathtaking transition along the Seine of evening into night while sipping an excellent French wine and nibbling on your appetizer. Another bonus about this restaurant is that upstairs is a rooftop bar for that after-dinner cocktail and below is a nightclub open for dancing until 4am on weekends.

Read more about Table du Flow →

4th Arondissement - Beaubourg an

Most people who know Paris think of Saint-Germain des Pres when they think of the famous Cafe Flore. But this, by far, is the prettiest location for this iconic cafe that serves light refreshments. At least it is in the summer time, when being near the water can make the difference between enjoying a pleasant afternoon to feeling stifled in the city heat. Sidewalk dining is the strategy here, because if you can nab a table and chairs on the terrace, your view onto the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris is unobstructed. You can watch moment by moment as this great landmark is reconstructed before your very eyes. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served here though you are best keeping with the basics such as omelettes, salads and steak-frites. It is, of course, a bit pricier than other cafes, but it's the mllion dollar view of the boats as they go by along the Seine beneath your feet and the grande dame of all churches that you are paying for here.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Watch the river cruise boats glide by underneath the Pont Saint-Louis and sip something refreshing..

Paige's expert tip: When the famous ice cream parlor, Berthillon, closes down in August, you can still get the delicious ice creams and sorbets served to you here throughout the summer months. In the evenings, if you are lucky enough to snag a table during cocktail hour, there isn't a better seat in all of Paris in which to watch the boats, and the world, go by.

Read more about Le Flore en L'Isle →


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