Paris and la douceur de vivre. Cole Porter and so many artists after him sang about how much they love Paris all year round. Indeed, with its parks, secret gardens, riverbanks, terraces, squares, incredible architecture, what is not to love about Paris in the open air?
Galeries Lafayette’s rooftop: rise to the sky
Galeries Lafayette’s rooftop is one fine way to discover the city for it offers 360° views of Paris’ skyline along with outstanding outdoor dining options. After its very successful summer restaurant Créatures, young chef Julien Sebbag’s has extended his talent right across the way with Tortuga, his latest gastronomy creation.
While Créatures’ main trend is vegetal with a 100% vegetarian and vegan menu, at Tortuga the chef gives pride of place to fish. Here all products of the sea are sourced responsibly and locally as dishes are prepared with wild fish caught by line offshore from the French coast, only. Whether as a carpaccio, tartare, grilled or marinated, Sebbag’s fish is sublimated.
The restaurant itself is a modernist glass collapsible structure offering indoor and outdoor space with incredibly refined décor. Once its walls pull back, one can discover Paris’ stately monuments. Last but not least, Tortuga is a lasting restaurant.
The many different ways of cruising Paris
Among the many different outdoor activities Paris offers, the main one would certainly be “admiring the city”. Of course, one can cycle. Cycle the parks, the nearby woods of Boulogne or Vincennes, the riverbanks and the canals. However, for a more unique and original way of seeing Paris, there are other interesting options.
If you’re looking for something different, one interesting way to discover Paris is to join in one of the biggest nightly roller-skating events. Every Friday night, thousands of roller skaters of all ages and levels glide through the streets of the French capital. Traffic is stopped to let the roller skaters zoom across the city for a 17km stroll and enjoy the sparkling streets of Paris.
Cruising the cobbled streets
Hidden squares, tiny cobbled streets, why not travel through time and take a little Paris tour in the legendary Citroen 2 CV? It’s unusual, charming and very French. Born in 1948, the deux chevaux (two horsepower) is the most emblematic of French cars. Experience Paris from a new perspective and off the beaten track by sitting in your vintage French car, with the top of the car wide open and a knowledgeable chauffeur who will whisks you around Paris to see the classics, the fun, the quirky things that make the city so special.
Arts in open air
Parks and gardens’ outside exhibitions and activities
Paris has a great deal of outdoor events and exhibitions, especially during the summer. For instance, the Jardins du Luxembourg regularly hosts photo exhibitions displayed along the garden gates. Sometimes, you might even stumble upon a concert in the bandstand. Visitors can discover the impressive statuary including 106 statues spread throughout the park as well as an orchard, an apiary to learn about bee-keeping, greenhouses with a collection of remarkable orchids and a rose garden.
One inspiring stroll would be at the Rodin Museum gardens. Some of the sculptor’s most famous work is exhibited here. Visitors can walk the beautifully landscaped gardens, contemplate The Thinker or the Gates of Hell before stopping for a coffee at the small cafeteria.
Outdoor cinema: the 7th art
Open air cinema has become a classic for the Parisians. Running through the entire summer, these open air movie screenings are shown in their original language with French subtitles. Depending on the kind of atmosphere you’re looking for, you can pick among some unique settings.
The classic open air cinema is to be found at the Parc de la Villette where you can relax on the green lawns with a picnic and friends. At Paris Plage at the bassin de la Villette, you can take a seat in one of the 38 electric boats for a cinema on water. Off the beaten track, you can try out the screenings held on the abandoned rail tracks of the Petite Ceinture. Last but not least, the Moulin Rouge houses its own cinema event on its roof, with a view!