The Perfect Parisian Picnic

As the weather warms, Parisians spill out onto the quays and into the parks for leisurely weekend and weeknight picnics. As avid picnickers, we at SFP have compiled a few picnicking tips to help you bring in the sunshine:

Buttes Chaumont Picnicers (photo courtesy of CelineNYC)

1.    Location, Location, Location!
Buttes Chaumont, 19eme |  Large park with rolling hills, tons of open grass and trees, waterfalls and a lake.

Canal St. Martin, 10eme  |  While there is little greenery and the small stretch along the water can get quite crowded on Saturday afternoons, this is a trendy picnic spot filled with great people watching and the surrounding bars and cafes provide for great après-picnic festivities.

Champs de Mars, 7eme  |  Huge stretch of flat grass extending from the base of the Eiffel Tower where you can picnic in front of Paris’ most famous monument.

Jardin de Luxembourg, 6eme  |  A perfect combination of grass and chairs in one of Paris’ most picturesque gardens. The gardens also host one of the best playgrounds for kids to enjoy during or after eating.

La Seine  |  Take your pick along the water. Whether you are by Jussieu or at the western corner or Ile de la Cite you are sure to have picturesque Paris views.

Quai de Seine (Fredcan)

2.   The Do’s and Don’ts of Paris Picnics
Do dress appropriately. Ditch your heels and work suits for flats and skinny jeans.
Do arrive late. Picnics in Paris tend to last hours and it is best to turn up an hour or two in when things are in full swing.
Do invite lots of friends.  Picnics are the definition of the concept “the more the merrier.” Warm weather brings out our social sides and as long as you come with enough wine and saucisson sec for the group, invite every one you know!
Don’t come empty handed. One should always bring a drink and at least one thing to munch on to a picnic.
Don’t buy ready-made sandwiches, chips, or grocery-store purchases. Instead, buy the fresh makings of a sandwich or, better yet, make a home-made salad or quiche.
Don’t forget something sweet for dessert. Most people focus their picnics on the savory choices but if you are the one to remember to pick up some pastries from the local boulangerie, you will be the king/queen of the picnic!

Perfect French Picnic (Alan Smith)

3.   Ultimate Picnic Gear and Goodies
Ultimate Picnic Gear Hotspot: Merci. Pre-picnic be sure to stock up on bamboo plates, utensils and plastic bento-boxes as well as their fabulous reusable napkins or even table cloths (that can be used as picnic blankets) that come on a roll and in every color!

Best Picnic Foods: When shopping for a picnic, try to avoid grocery stores at all costs. The best ingredients are bought from the markets or specialty shops. Think selections of cheeses, saucisson sec, fresh baguettes, fruits or some freshly chopped veggies with a dip.

5 thoughts on “The Perfect Parisian Picnic

  1. Daisy de Plume

    I think my fave picnic spot in Paris is the first snap – Buttes Chaumont. It’s the only spot in Paris which reminds me of Central Park.
    Thanks for the tips!

    1. Sasha Post author

      Buttes Chaumont packed with picnickers definitely does give off that Central Park vibe. Glad you enjoyed it Daisy!

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  3. Paris Picnic

    We love all of these spots, especially Buttes Chaumont on a Sunday, that can be followed with dancing at Rose Bonheur! For a beautiful French rose/sculpture garden feel, Parc Monceau in the 8th is excellent.

    As for food – anything eaten al fresco just seems to taste better! For Parisians and visitors that want to taste a pre-made, quality picnic (blanket & utensils included), check out our site and Twitter @ParisPicnic and facebook as well.


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