The best places for a picnic in Paris
Trees are budding, flowers are blossoming and birds are back with their sweet morning soundtracks. With the spring sun finally wiping out the dull winter skies, Parisians begin to crack a smile or two, eager to let the good times roll again. And what better way to celebrate life’s new beginning than to unravel Paris’ most fascinating picnic locations?
My oh my, it’s time for a picnic!
An “al fresco” lunch, an afternoon snack or a dinner with friends? These days, everyone should take advantage of the weather and spend their time on the grass, by the river or in the elegant shadow cast by Paris’ most remarkable landmarks.
With a crispy baguette, a mouth-melting cheese and some yummy delicatessen, life suddenly seems worth-living again!
From benches and bridges to canals, hills and gardens, the Parisian picnic map is packed with tempting possibilities to spread your checkered blanket.
But before hitting town starry-eyed, let’s stock that picnic basket of yours first.
Your essential Parisian picnic kit
A bottle of wine (or beer, or cider)
Fresh fruit or veggies (cherry tomatoes, strawberries, radish, etc.)
Juicy starters (olives, pickles, terrines, raw vegetables and dips)
A blanket and a warm sweater (it’s still spring, after all!)
What’s in the basket?
Nice. Now that we’re done shopping, it’s time to hit the Promised Land and find the perfect spot for unpacking that basket!
By the water
Canal Saint Martin
Young, hip and less touristy than the banks of the Seine, the atmosphere of the stone banks of the Canal St. Martin make it a universally beloved place for a picnic under the branches of plane trees in the soft light of the sunset. With its length of 4.5 km you will be seated without having to make a reservation. (Metro : Gare de l’Est (line 4, 5, 7), Place de la Republique (line 3, 5, 8, 9, 11)).
Canal Saint Martin courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Along the Seine
It’s no wonder that the banks of the Seine, the square Vert Galant and the Ile Saint Louis have become legendary spots for Parisian picnic lovers. They present a gorgeous opportunity to amicably admire the passing Bateaux-Mouches, while relishing the picture postcard views of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Pont des Arts or the sleepless safeguards of Hôtel de Ville (Metro: Hôtel de Ville (lines 1, 11), Cité (line 4)).
Students enjoying the sunset by the Seine. Courtesy of Jorge Royan, Wikimedia Commons
On the grass
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Located atop a rocky hill offering sweeping panoramic views of Paris, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont is an original place to lay down your picnic blanket. With its rolling hills, rock formations, charming lakes and waterfalls, you can enjoy the calming sounds of nature as you take to your lunch. (Metro: Buttes-Chaumont, Botzaris (line 7), Laumière (line 5)).
The spring craze at Buttes Chaumont. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Place de Vosges
If you prefer to stay in the center of it all, why not head to the Marais and the oldest planned public square in Paris, Place des Vosges? You can easily picture yourself in the 17th century once you sit on the grass of this pretty and perfectly symmetrical square and become the last on the list of its famous temporary residents, including writer Victor Hugo, poet Théophile Gautier and Cardinal Richelieu himself. (Metro: St. Paul, Bastille (line 1)).
Place des Vosges. Cortesy of Wikimedia Commons
With a view
Care for a table between the glitzy dome of Les Invalides and the opulent frame of the Alexandre III bridge? Then make the huge patches of green land stretching between them your personal “outdoor restaurant”. A night out spent on this location means dinner with a view and a reverence to French cultural heritage included. (Metro: Les Invalides, (line 13))
Les Ivalides’ green carpet is there for you. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Champ de Mars
Munching on French cheese in front of the Eiffel tower might sound like a joke but it’s actually one of the ultimate Parisian picnic experiences. To fulfill this classical fantasy, load up your basket and go set camp on the Champs de Mars, the nearly 0.5 mile of field, stretching out like a green carpet in front of the famous tower. No bad seats, we promise. (Metro: Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel (line 6), Ecole Militaire (line 8)).
See the tiny picnicking dots in the foot of the Eiffel Tower? Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Over the bridge
Pont des Arts
Picnicking on the wooden slats of the pedestrian Pont des Arts is a sheer movie-like experience. You can enjoy a candlelit dinner with a view of the Louvre among fellow picnickers playing guitar, blowing a sax or sketching the unequaled view. For a particularly dreamy night out, go there at sunset, when the sun gently strokes the Eiffel Tower glittering further down the river. (Metro: Pont Neuf (line 7), Louvre-Rivoli (line 1))
Pont des Arts in July. Crazy, huh? Cortesy of Wikimedia Commons
We hope you’ve spotted your top picnic spot in our list and are already packing that basket. Enjoy and bon appétit!