Summer is THE picnic season. Although some lawns are not always accessible to the public, many parks and gardens gladly welcome picnickers. Here is a little selection of places where you can spread out a picnic cloth and open your picnic basket, without any qualms.
For some top places, firstly head to the centre of the capital.
Go back in time at the gallant Square Louis-XIII. Sitting at the foot of the equestrian statue of this king of France, you are at the heart of the Place des Vosges, one of the oldest squares in Paris.
For a royal picnic, meet up in the Jardin des Tuileries. Designed by André Le Nôtre, the Tuileries gardens are a fine example of elegant French design, with symmetrical paths in gravel and beautiful pruned rows of trees. The big lawns are ideal for picnicking and offer fine views of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay and the Champs-Élysées. If like panoramic views, don’t miss the Jardin du Champ-de-Mars, below the Eiffel Tower. As well as being one of the biggest green areas in Paris, it offers lovely vistas of several major attractions: the Eiffel Tower, of course, but also Trocadéro and the Ecole militaire.
A favourite place of lovebirds, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont provides a romantic setting for a picnic, with a waterfall, grotto, look-out point, and ancient trees …
And lastly, to picnic in a thoroughly natural setting without leaving the city, there is nowhere better than the Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne!
Places well worth visiting
Paris has numerous green areas that are little havens of peace, well worth a visit.
The Marais district for example comprises several ‘secret’ gardens, like the Jardin des Rosiers Joseph-Migneret (formerly Francs-Bourgeois Rosiers), tucked away behind the Hôtel de Coulanges, or the Jardin Anne-Frank, at the end of Impasse Berthaud.
In the south of Paris is the Parc Montsouris, one of the richest in terms of flora and fauna. It offers delightful spots for a quiet picnic on the big lawned areas, by the pond or in the shade of the weeping willow trees. A few steps away, the Parc de la Cité universitaire is a well-preserved 30-hectare natural setting that is an ideal place to relax. This green campus offers a world tour with its foreign pavilions: United States, Italy, Morocco, Japan ...
To have Paris at your feet, head to the Parc de Belleville, a pretty garden on the heights of the city, with gentle slopes and tranquil places to unwind.
The Parc André-Citroën is a refreshing spot with its expansive lawned areas and numerous fountains. Perfect in summer! If it is comfort that you are looking for, the Jardin d’Éole has designated picnic areas with big tables for numerous guests. Finally, at the Parc de La Villette you are guaranteed plenty of space.
Picnic baskets prepared by the best delis
To make life simpler, some shops and caterers provide ready-packed picnic baskets … Remember to order in advance to ensure that you are delivered in time.
The ‘picnic bag’ at Arnaud Delmontel is composed of a fine array of products from the house of Delmontel: with among other things, two Renaissance baguettes (prize for best Paris baguette in 2007!), salad, fougasse, raspberry tart, bottle of Bordeaux, not forgetting cutlery, picnic rug … and even a Laguiole corkscrew!
As for the Épicerie générale, it has designed several original baskets, all attractive and organic. An embroidered picnic cloth (refundable, as well as the basket), disposable cutlery, paper serviettes, a small candle … as well as a large selection of outdoor games to hire.
Want to stay where you are? Just place your order and then the gourmet delicatessen Papa Sapiens will take care of everything and deliver to the destination of your choice. On the menu, a choice of equally delicious picnic box options: ‘picnic’, sweet box for a sweet snack or ‘apero’.
If you would like to be served on a tray, Lenôtre offers several choices of ‘Coffret by Lenôtre’, designed by chefs, with a starter, main course, dessert, bread rolls, cutlery and a serviette. Very practical in an attractive easy to carry box. Fauchon has also created delicious gourmet tray meals to eat cold.
has thought of everything with its ‘apero bag’, which contains a jar of charcuterie, a pot of rillettes, boiled ham, condiments and a baguette.