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Lounge Here Now: Best Places to Loiter in Paris

from pont des artsView from Pont des Arts – Erica Berman

It seems somewhat unnecessary to write a post of this nature, given that any part of Paris could be considered an ideal place to loiter. A blind-folded novice could be dropped in any corner of this city and, after a few minutes of wandering, would have no trouble finding a scenic spot in which to spend a few hours. There are almost too many places to park oneself for a morning or afternoon (or, hey, a whole day), which is why I’ve come up with a list of a few standouts that I return to again and again.

Note: I’m assuming that the city’s big gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg, the Tuileries, Bois de Boulogne, and the Bois de Vincennes) are givens. You can’t go wrong at any of them, but as a semi-pro loiterer, I prefer to venture off the beaten path.

Chilled-out loiteringCanal St. Martin. Paris’ low-key canal stretches from Place de la République all the way towards the northern border of the city. People from all walks of life—hipsters, families, total weirdos—hang out along the Canal’s cobbled banks, picnicking and reveling until the wee hours of the night.

Canal St Martin EBBCanal St Martin – Erica Berman

Fancy loitering—Place des Vosges. It was love at first sight the moment I discovered this astoundingly beautiful 17th-century square, tucked away in the heart of the bustling Marais. Benches surround the perimeter, but there are swaths of grass where local families and neighborhood cool kids lounge after school and on weekends.

Gen-Place Des Vosges .JPGPlace des Vosges – Geneviève Sandifer

Super-cool loitering—Palais de Tokyo. On nice evenings, this contemporary art museum’s laid-back terrace is my hands-down favorite spot to take over a table, break out a bottle of wine (buy one at the café inside or bring your own), and scope out the skater kids who practice tricks on the steps down below. Don’t be surprised if you spot an undercover celebrity at the table next to you… famous people like to loiter, too.

Civilized loitering—Parc Monceau. Located in the swanky residential area of the 8th arrondissement, this park will make you feel as though you’ve slipped back into a more refined age. Pack a picnic, pick a bench and start scheming about ways to one day buy one of the six private residences that open onto the park.

Bohemian loitering—Pont des Arts. During the spring and summer, this pedestrian bridge buzzes with artists and musicians who come to paint, take photos, play music, and just sort of emit artsy vibes. It’s an ideal place to mix it up with other (slightly tipsy) Paris dwellers as you catch the sunset over the Seine.

“Outdoorsy” loitering: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Belleville’s biggest park might be man-made, but it still feels like the “wildest” place in Paris. Install yourself at the edge of the lake and soak up the neighborhood’s relaxed vibe.

Fontaine de MedicisFontaine des Medicis – Tory Hoen

Super-secret loitering: Fontaine des Médicis. For the record, I can’t believe I’m giving this one up, since I consider it to be my own ultra-private hangout in Paris. But I suppose I can share, as long as we don’t show up on the same day. It’s tucked away in the quiet northeastern corner of the Jardin du Luxembourg. Grab one of the chairs lining the long reflecting pool and watch the resident ducks do their thing. I’m convinced that time stands still here—it’s the ultimate urban escape.

For other ideas, check out:

Written by Tory Hoen,  for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

ClunyMuseumGardenGarden of Cluny Museum – Erica Berman  (Erica’s favorite secret Paris lounge spot)
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Written by Tory Hoen

Tory HoenAfter attending Brown University and spending two years in New York, Tory bought a one-way ticket to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a writer (and of drinking wine at lunch). During her time in the City of Light, she chronicled the euphoric highs and the laughable lows of ex-pat life on her blog, A Moveable Beast. Though she's now based in New York, she travels frequently to Montreal and Brazil, and she'll use just about any excuse to jet to Paris ("I ran out of fleur de sel"). A regular contributor to Hip Paris, Tory also writes for New York Magazine, Time Out New York, and she is a co-author of's Guide To Life After College.

Website: Tory Hoen

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Posted in Green, Parisian Living | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Lounge Here Now: Best Places to Loiter in Paris”

  • Ahhhh…. Fontaine des Médicis is my favorite spot in Paris as well!

  • Great. Thanks for doing such a good job. I will definitely check back to find out more and recommend my friends about your writing.

  • […] never forget that on Sunday, you are well within your rights to do absolutely nothing, wherever you feel like doing […]

  • […] rate, the French attitude) cease to exist. It’s all Fresh bakes baguettes and macarons and aimless strolling and sunsets over the Seine and, of course, […]

  • Margot says:

    Dear HiP Paris, I recently came across your website and am so inspired by your work. I am an avid traveler myself, having grown up all over the world, now living in The Netherlands but traveling to Paris at least once a year. Thanks to bloggers like you, I have started my own photography blog, Again, thank you for your continued inspiration! Keep up the great posts!

  • Ferferi says:

    Today I went to Buttes Chaumont for the first time and actually also took a stroll along Canal St Martin too (although not the first time) and I had a great time. So many different cultures, the smell of flowers and trees, hundreds of dogs, old couples, a lot of kids playing… It was a wonderful day. Buttes Chaumont was much more beautiful than I expected. I wonder though about Bois de Boulogne. I have been there but didnt find it that nice at all. It felt to ‘consrtucted’ (I was at the big lake with the small islands in the middle) and was actually disappointed. Where to go in this huge park for a nice stroll??

  • Cynthia says:

    Is there anywhere in the south easterly corner, down near Notre Dame or the Pantheon?

    I can’t wait to find my place to lounge and loiter. Legally, of course. One wouldn’t want to be arrested for loitering in a non-public place, lol!

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