Hanging out around train stations in major cities is rarely a wise idea but an outdoor café near the Gare de l'Est in Paris should be considered a worthy exception.
Café A, a secret garden bar and restaurant, awaits beyond the threshold of the 18th century Les Récollets convent, equidistant from the train station and the Canal Saint Martin. Lounge chairs, parasols and small tables are available throughout the courtyard, perfect for in-the-know Parisians looking to while away an afternoon in the sun with a glass of rosé, local craft beer or plate of charcuterie and cheese.
I look forward to spending unburdened time in this space each year - a source of South-of-France-quiet - but sadly, it's only open during the summer months. Head there early afternoon to snag a spot and order at the bar if you can as the service tends to be slow.