Bird's Eye View: Rooftop Bars in Paris

I am excited to share with you one of my latest blog posts for Startle, the new travel community by Forbes Travel Guide.

Every city in the world has its share of rooftop bars, but in Paris, sipping a glass of wine while enjoying a view atop the city is a rare experience and one cherished by locals and visitors alike.

One of the least known rooftop bars in Paris is tucked away in the 19th arrondissement, a neighborhood that didn’t have much interest to tourists just a few years ago but has since transformed into a hot spot for both dining and nightlife. The trendy hotel Mama Shelter offers a rooftop experience unlike any other, as the entire place can be reserved for you and up to 17 of your closest friends. Glowing string lanterns and large lounges set the scene on the rooftop overlooking eastern Paris, and fun cocktails include the Mamalabar, which is made with Hendrick’s Gin, apple liqueur, rhubarb, sugar cane and lime. Plus, if you decide to rent the rooftop, Mama Shelter invites you to spend the night, on them. I suggest doing this on a Friday or Saturday night so you can take advantage of the incredible brunch of waffles, smoked salmon and tarte au citron the next morning.

The two major right-bank department stores in Paris, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, both offer rooftop restaurants (bars included) and some of the best vistas in the city. At Printemps, head to Le Déli-Cieux for an apéro, a glass of wine and a snack, while you watch the sun fade and the lights turn on across the city. At Galeries Lafayette, La Terrasse is the perfect place to refuel after some power shopping. Terraces that offer full sunshine are always popular after the long Paris winters, and this one also happens to command views of The Palais Garnier and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Other rooftop bars to check out are Le Quarante Trois at the Holiday Inn Notre Dame, which boasts a scape of (you guessed it) — Notre Dame; The Raphael Hotel with its giant terrace and life-sized chessboard overlooking the Arc de Triomphe; and the Warwick Hotel’s W Restaurant perched on a sunny patio near the Champs Élysées. The Centre Georges Pompidou in the Marais is another spot with an idyllic rooftop patio at Restaurant Georges, offering both food and cocktails for lunch and dinner. The panoramic perspectives are spectacular — especially at night — as the terrace wraps the building.

My favorite secret rooftop spot in Paris is the garden on the top of the Hermès boutique on rue Saint Honoré. While it isn’t open to the public, it has been known to host some incredible private fêtes and is a gorgeous place to imagine sipping Champagne while being surrounded by all that is Parisian luxury.

Photos Courtesy of Mama Shelter, Hermes and Holiday Inn Notre Dame