Pique-Nique in Paris.
The French love a good pique-nique!
As a one time resident of France, I couldn’t help to notice how often the French would eat "al fresco". A typical location would be along the river bank, sitting on hard concrete, sipping wine and eating their "apero" before heading out to one of the local bars. Hundreds upon hundreds of young Parisians perched along the banks of the canal Saint Martin or the river La Seine. Watching the boats go by as they tuck into their pique-nique. Can this be called a pique-nique? "Apero" seems more appropriate.
However, the parks are also jam-packed with your more standard picnic. Interestingly there are many breathtakingly beautiful parks in Paris although not all are appropriate to picnic in. There is an order and symmetry to so many of these parks with astonishingly perfect flower beds and manicured grass. The emphasis on perfection is so evident that there are even signs warning you to not sit or walk on the grass. There is an abundance of park benches to help people abide by these park rules. There are still plenty of parks where you can sit on the grass to have a picnic and a couple of special ones come to mind...
My favourite park in Paris is the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. It’s most famous feature is the temple that’s perched at the top of a cliff fifty metres above the waters of the artificial lake. In the park André-Citroen where there are wide plains of grass suitably busy with lounging picnickers, there are actual drink taps with sparkling water! It blew my mind when I found this out. Many cheeky locals bring jugs to fill to the brim. There is also a hot air balloon that lifts you 150 metres off the ground that’s tethered in the park.
Probably the most famous of all picnic spots though would be the sprawling grass in front of the Tour De Eiffel. What a view! On one side you have the Eiffel tower itself and on the other, it’s the Hotel Des Invalides with its epic golden dome. As you sit on the grass, aside from gazing at the gorgeous architectural wonders before you, there is also a chance at some light entertainment. Under the Eiffel Tower, there are many people selling trinkets to tourists including the ubiquitous mini Eiffel Tower souvenirs. They lay out their wares on top of a big sheet, I realised why one barmy night whilst I was hogging into cornichons and saucisson. The sheet allows a quick getaway as when the cops inevitably arrive to stop this illegal activity! (the vendors frantically pick the sheets up with all their random trinkets and sprint off into the bushes bemused picnickers looking on as the police barrel after them). In winter, the grass is usually blocked off in favour of the famous Christmas markets where you can buy Vin Chaud (mulled wine), roasted chestnuts and Christmas presents. You would be lucky to find a spot on the grass during summer though but it’s well worth it on a warm night as you wait every hour to see the Eiffel Tower illuminated with sparkling lights. It is the city of light after all!
You can purchase our own "Parisian style" Picnic Box here.