High summer in Paris is divine: you get all the beauty, all the culture, but no Parisians. In the summer most locals ship themselves off to St. Tropez or their houses in the country, the city is then left to the tourists, where you can enjoy the calm streets, empty parks and a more relaxed atmosphere.
That being said, although all the tourist attractions are open, many restaurants and bars do shut down, we’ve picked the best restaurants open in August where you can enjoy the peace and quiet.
Mini Palais, opens daily from midday to midnight. After visiting The Grand Palais, or shopping on the Golden Triangle, why not pop in and eat on the terrace?
Freebie gougères, (feather-light cheese puffs) served as mini-soufflés, are the perfect introduction to Stéphan d’Aboville’s menu. Delicious choices include sardines à l'huile with bordier seaweed butter, planche de charcuterie, lobster salad and beef tartare. Don’t forget to take a look-around at their fine collection of art adorning the walls. www.minipalais.com
L’Arpege, Maison de Cuisine
Alian Passard © Pauline Le Goff
Alain Passard is the 3 Michelin-starred chef and owner of this contemporary restaurant located opposite the Rodin Museum. “I stay open in August because it’s the best time for vegetables, herbs and fruits from my farm”, he says.
Passard’s market-driven menu is full of surprises and it’s a good plan to give this talented chef carte blanche and discover the bounty of his organic gardens. The menu includes asparagus sushi with green tea, gratin of onions, maki vegetal, and rhubarbe millefeuille with a touch of geranium. After lunch check out L’Arrière-Cuisine, Passard’s eclectic art gallery, round the corner on 57 rue de Bourgogne. www.alain-passard.com
La Petite Cour
La Petite Cour
Just off Boulevard Saint-Germain, opposite Mabillon Market and set in a bucolic courtyard is the delightful Petite Cour. A little-known example of Paris’ hidden gems, Chef Kampei Hisaoka creates typical French seasonal cooking with subtlety.
Choose an assortment of side dishes and share with friends for a perfectly Parisian lunch on the terrace. www.lapetitecour.fr
Located opposite Île Saint Louis, with views of Notre Dame cathedral, the picture-perfect 1900’s brasserie has a beautiful shady terrace and is the ideal place for a romantic lunch or dinner. The menu includes warm asparagus, roast lamb, spelt and mint taboulé drizzled with argan oil, local cheese and blackcurrant crème brûlée. beaumarly.com
Mori Venice Bar
Mori Venice Bar
Located opposite the Bourse (Paris’ Stock Exchange) and owned by Massimo Mori, the Philippe Starck designed space rocks a Venice carnival vibe, with black masks in silhouette on the Starck lamps. Sit at tables or book the mirrored alcove, which seats four, with crystal Murano chandelier and banquettes made of Hermes leather.
The long bar displays the days’ antipasto and champagnes on ice. The Italian menu showcases Venetian classics with ingredients imported from the city. Try the truffled tuna, beef carpacci or white caviar. www.massimomori.net
The chic “bistronomique” eatery is located on the sixth-floor of the Peninsula Hotel. Decor showcases marvellous memorabilia recalling the two pilots of the French bi-plane that disappeared en route to New York in 1927. Order an Aviation or Take-Off Cocktail and it’s up, up and away before you dine on Chef Sidney Redel’s simple seasonal dishes to match world wines such as New Zealand “Sauvignon Blanc”, Marlborough Valley Kim Crawford 2012. www.paris.peninsula.com
Flottes & Petit Flottes
A relaxed, family run brasserie with a small terrace and interior walls scattered with Art Deco paintings. What makes the brasserie so special is the outstanding quality of the produce and the wonderful cooking.
Try a starter of their award winning egg mayonnaise; follow with a simple steak tartare or sandwich jambon beurre. Also stocking excellent world wines. The sister café next-door, a chic grocery, has a sandwich and bagel bar offering morning coffee, fresh juices, Tea Pigs teas, beers and foodie gifts and treats. www.brasserie-flottes.com
Few travellers find their way to this intimate venue near Place Republique, which is a tiny hybrid market/café serving mouth-watering French comfort food on small tables or at the communal table d’hôte.
The daily fare is written on blackboards and includes marinated fresh sardines, rôtisserie lamb and perfect raspberry millefeuille with house-made ice cream to finish. For wine try, Le Benjamin de Puech-Haut from the Languedoc. www.jeanne-a-comestibles.com
A great 7/7 address by Fréderic Hubig Schall, who also owns Jeanne A. The restaurant is light bright and buzzy with a grocery/épicerie counter for take away picnics on the nearby Butte de Montmartre. Book early for tables on the outside terrace and order the tender Challans chicken “Pates Noires”, from the rotisserie, with creamy gratin dauphinoise potatoes.
The house signatures are a hamburger-style lobster Croq Homard de Jeanne, vegetable tart and Madagascar prawns; and nobody minds if you order lasagne de petit pois for the table. www.jeanne-b-comestibles.com
La Terrace 8 Iena
In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, for his first summer at Le Shangri La, Executive Chef, Christophe Moret (ex-Alain Ducasse & Lasserre) creates a menu on the elegant terrace at Le 8 Iéna, showcasing light seasonal ingredients.
Guests can choose from, Parisian Style Niçoise salad, green pea cappuccino and crispy bread with fresh goat cheese, wok-fried vegetables with grilled marinated tofu and Asian Chicken Satay, all dishes have amazing sunny flavours and vary daily. La 8 Iéna terrace is open until mid-September from midday to 10:30 p.m. A aperitif menu is also available from 3 pm. to 7pm. www.shangri-la.com/paris