Parisian Living

Rooftop Paris: Exploring the 5th Arrondissement

by Tory Hoen

terrace-sitting-area-blue-skyTerrace and garden w/ stairs to upper level terrace.

Some visitors to Paris will scale any height—or endure waiting in any line—to achieve the ultimate view of the city. And while Sacré-Coeur and the Eiffel Tower certainly do not disappoint, many of Paris’ most unique and breathtaking views are afforded by private residences, discreetly tucked away in various parts of the city. During the summer, the lucky few with access to these hidden havens take advantage by soaking up the sun during the day, kicking back for cocktails in the evening, and taking in the view of Paris’ magical lights at night…

At Haven in Paris, our Left Bank Designer Penthouse is one of these unique residences, blending in with the surrounding neighborhood while still providing guests with a one-of-a-kind experience: a 360° panoramic view that encompasses the Eiffel Tower, the Panthéon, Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, and countless other sites and monuments throughout the city. The two-story apartment is encircled by wrap-around balconies on both floors, and the top floor opens onto a stunning terrace and roof garden that provide an amazing space to entertain friends or simply relax after a day in the city. The balconies and terrace provide a combined 300m2 of private outdoor space—nearly unheard of in Paris, where most apartments are much more confined. Now is the time to contact us about renting this apartment, as we are giving 10% off all rentals from now until August 29, 2009.

nice-gardenTerrace w/ view of Pantheon.

While available for rental to visitors, the Left Bank Designer Penthouse is owned by German artist Markus Hansen and his wife, French writer Valentine de Ganay. In designing the space, they worked with architect Pierre Louis Faloci to create an atmosphere of fluidity, where the border between indoor and outdoor was blurred, and where light and air move freely throughout the space. Landscape architect Pascal Cribier was charged with the task of designing a customized garden and terrace area that would maximize the space available while still emphasizing the incredible panoramic view. The result of these collaborations is a breathtaking living space where guests can enjoy complete privacy, while still feeling closely connected to the city that surrounds them.

green-living-roomFormal living room w/ designer furniture and door onto terrace.
stairsStairs connecting upper hallway to lower level living / dining space.

And while they might be tempted to spend the whole day lounging on the terrace, guests at this property will also find that the surrounding area—the historic 5th arrondissement—is a fascinating quartier to explore. Just up the street from the Designer Penthouse apartment is the charming Place de la Contrescarpe, whose cafes were once frequented by Ernest Hemingway—a former resident of the neighborhood. Café Delmas’ sunny terrace provides a perfect spot to stop for a morning coffee or evening apéro. From here, you can walk uphill towards the Panthéon, a former church that now houses the remains of many of France’s greatest writers and thinkers.

contrescarpe-2Place de la Contrescarpe. Photo courtesy of

Foodies will want to head downhill on Rue Mouffetard to browse the myriad traiteurs that line the street, selling wine, cheese, fish, fruits and vegetables, chocolate, flowers, and countless specialty products from throughout France. Stop for a gelato at Gelati d’Alberto or pick up some wine at La Fontaine aux Vins. Take note: most of these shops are closed on Sunday afternoons and all day Monday. At the base of Rue Mouffetard, you will find a handful of cafes (such as the quaint Salle à Manger) where you can take a break after shopping. On Wednesdays, Friday, and Sundays, the nearby Place Monge (Metro: Place Monge) also has a green market where local artisanal producers come to sell their products.

jardin-des-plantesJardin des Plantes. Photo courtesy of

From here, make your way to the stunning Jardin des Plantes, France’s premiere botanical garden. In addition to providing ample space for strolling and picnicking, the garden also houses Paris’ Natural History Museum and a menagerie full of exotic animals. This is a wonderful spot for families with children to explore.

After an afternoon in the garden, swing by the café at the Mosquee de Paris for mint tea and North African pastries. The mosque itself is also open to the public, and visitors will be astonished by the beauty and intricacy of its blue-and-white tiled interior.

And then return home to your private terrace to watch the sunset as the day comes to a close and the monuments of Paris light up the night sky.

For more information about the Designer Penthouse property or any of our other vacation rental properties, please visit

Written By

Tory Hoen

Tory Henwood Hoen is a former Paris resident who now lives in Brooklyn. Her debut novel, The Arc, is available in bookshops near you and online View Tory Hoen's Website

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