The river that divides Paris between its famous left and right banks is more than a thoroughfare for cargo boats and tourist barges. Back in 2014, Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, decided to give the South banks (Le Quai d’Orsay) of the Seine river back to the people by making them pedestrian walkways dotted with restaurants and bars from late spring to early autumn. Concentrated around the Pont Alexandre III, built in the late 19th century and famous for its extravagant gold-gilded Beaux-Arts style, the banks of the river fill up with people at the first sign of warm weather after a long Parisian winter.
Since Paris got the ball rolling on this project back in 2013 with Les Berges (a series of new constructions aimed at beautifying the river banks and making them pedestrian- and picnic-friendly), a number of restaurants and the occasional food truck have opened, offering Seine goers a bite to eat and a refreshing drink with arguably the most beautiful view in the city. Here are the top five spots to check out the Seine sights this summer:
This spot originally opened as a terrace-only bar, where you could get a bottle of rosé or a cold drink and enjoy the sunset over the river with the Grand Palais and the Pont Alexandre III off in the distance. Today, it’s a nightclub (located under the bridge) and a restaurant serving lunch, dinner and brunch. Thankfully, even with the transformations, it has maintained its prime terrace for those rosé nights.
Rosa Bonheur Sur Seine
Rosa Bonheur, famous originally for its 19th arrondissement location inside the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and its rowdy weekend gatherings, just opened a new location late last summer on a barge parked permanently between the Pont Alexandre III and the Pont de la Concorde. It has now set up both on the quai — expect to see a pizza oven, plates of charcuterie and a lively atmosphere here — as well as on a barge stationed in front, on the water. The latter tends to fill up quickly so, when in doubt, grab a spot along the river and order to go.
On top of the giant green Cité de la Mode building on the Seine is Nuba, opened last summer, where the fashion crowd goes to partake in house music, street fare by the Le Réfectoire food truck, or more serious eats from chef Alexandre Morin at most hours of the day and well into the evening (until 11 p.m.). The real bonus here is the unbeatable view over the Seine from the east.
Back down the river to the west, the clan behind Le Perchoir, Paris’ first rooftop bar in 2013, has taken claim on a barge that it transformed into a little slice of Bali in the heart of France. Amid a tropically inspired setting, sip on craft cocktails and homemade juices while noshing on Brazilian barbecued meats with a view of the Eiffel Tower and sunsets over the city.
Le Camion Qui Fume
Also be on the lookout for the iconic Le Camion Qui Fume burger truck to be floating its way up and down the Seine this summer. Owner Kristin Frederick will strap the truck onto a barge that will float up and down the riverbanks, fulfilling hungry river goers’ cravings for fascinating takes on burgers, like the bleu or California (avocado, red onions).