By Kate van den Boogert
August 20, 2014
Credit: Ludovic Maillard

As soon as the first rays of spring sunshine poke through the clouds, every restaurant, bar, and café in Paris dusts off its sidewalk furniture and sets up a “terrasse.” These urban oases are privileged rendezvous points throughout the warmer months. Smokers also rejoice as smoking is usually tolerated here. But there are a number of other tables in the city that are not just outside, but outdoors amid nature and calm, offering not only refuge from the world en plein air, but also good food and veritable feasts for the eyes. Here are my picks of the best spots to catch up with friends over a meal, a drink, or a coffee, while enjoying a rare moment of peace in the heart of the city. Secure a table at one of these special eateries and enjoy a languorous afternoon outdoors savoring good weather and good times. Bon appetite!

Rosa Bonheur

Located within the gloriously Romantic park, the Buttes-Chaumont, opened in 1867 by Napoleon III, this relaxed café is a kid and gay-friendly option, serving up Spanish style tapas—think anchovies, or Serrano ham—to eat inside or outside on the communal tables under the trees.

Café Suedois

Located within a magnificent historical mansion in the Marais, the Hôtel de Marle, offered as a gift to Sweden from France after the World War II, the Swedish Cultural Centre also includes this charming café, which leads out onto the extensive paved courtyard and garden. Don’t miss the delicious cinnamon cakes. Smaklig måltid!

Le Grand Bleu

This secret address is located between Bastille and the Seine, on the canal, looking over the boats docked in the Port de l'Arsenal. The simple café and restaurant has tables outdoors, making for a peaceful and bucolic experience—a rare and precious thing in Paris!

Nanashi Tournon

Hidden inside the exquisite Left Bank flagship of the luxury French children’s wear brand Bonton, this outpost of the healthy Franco-Japanese canteen Nanashi gives onto a private courtyard. Enjoy your healthy bento, fresh juice, and matcha cheesecake under the leafy tree branches.