paris: things to do

Paris Picnic Guide

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. I’ve become a “picnic expert” since we have them almost everyday. If you are visiting Paris here are the ingredients for a picture perfect Paris picnic. (Say that three times fast.)

 

1. Pick Your Poison. Perrier is my personal favorite but you can hit one of the many Nicholas stores to pick up something with a little more punch.

2. | 3. Supplies. My friend Rubi showed up to a picnic a few weeks ago with the best picnic gear. She got it all from Merci. Stop by Merci on your first day in Paris for bamboo plates, utensils, and these awesome reusable napkins that come on a roll.

4. Produce. Try to avoid the supermarket, instead go to the specialty stores. It’s like going to McDonalds when you have the option of an amazing homecooked meal. Find a produce stand and stock up on fruit and veggies (I love radishes and butter on a picnic.)

5. Baguette. Buy this right before you are going to eat it (not two hours before.) Ask for “Baguette Traditional” they are my favorite. Only buy this from a Boulanger. If you are buying it from a supermarket you get a big Paris fail.

6. Cheese! Ah the thrill of walking into a good Fromagerie. They can be intimidating and a little scary (is that mold?) I prefer mild cheeses with interesting flavors. Here are a two of my favorites to start with: Morbier and Comte. Do some research if you are braver and like stinky cheeses so you can ask to try specific kinds. (Little Brown Pen has a nice column on cheeses.)

7. Saucisson sec. Buy this from a deli or a Butcher, If you aren’t familiar with this stuff it is cured meat. They are usually hanging up above the counter and they are SO delicious. I don’t eat a lot of meat but I love me some saucisse.

Other things I like to eat at a picnic: Beignets, coquettes, chocolate eclairs, and ham and butter sandwiches. All of these can be bought from a boulanger. (Even if you don’t see sandwiches displayed most bakeries will make you one on the spot if asked.) What am I missing?

All of Paris is covered with fantastic picnic locations but my favorite locations for picnics are:

The Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower, the right bank of Ile St. Louis, and the point of Ile de la Cite. Do you know of any especially great picnic spots in Paris?

Picnic Season

I’m back! I took an unexpected blogging break. Paul’s parents have been in town and it has been so awesome to have free and willing babysitters around the clock. Paul and I have been running around the city like two little kids. We’ve spent every night walking until the wee hours of the morning. And during the day we’ve been: taking intensive French classes, riding all over Paris on bikes (Paris has an awesome public bike system), and we’ve been having picnics and eating ice cream like crazy. I do not want this to end, it has been paradise! Yesterday after French class we ended up on Ile St Louis. On the right bank of the island it is quiet and serene so we had a picnic. While we were sitting there a little mama duck came by with her babies. Adorable! We followed up the strenuous activity of picnicking with an ice cream cone. (I think its an actual law that you have to purchase an icecream cone while on Ile St Louis. Ha!)

(ps: Watch later this week for how to create the perfect Parisian picnic.)

 

Canal Saint Martin

We went for a walk on Canal St Martin last week. The streets were closed off so pedestrians and bicyclists had full reign of the street. There are people everywhere along the banks just sitting and looking and reading. I’ve been exploring some of the shops in the neighborhood and have found some real gems. The neighborhood reminds me a little bit of the Mission district in San Francisco. It’s super hip and sort of rough around the edges.




ps: the dress is from Mango (I love their skirts and dresses because they have pockets!) The fluorescent belt is from JCrew.

How to Get to the Paris Flea Market

I feel like there aren’t super clear directions on how to get to the Paris Flea Market so I decided to do this post so you can find it should you ever need to. First, there are lots of little flea markets called “brocantes” going on all the time. These instructions are not for those but for the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen Market, which is the biggest flea market in the world. The market is open: Saturdays 9h to 18h, Sundays 10h to 18h, Mondays 11h to 5h.

1. To get there by Metro get off at the metro stop Porte de Clignancourt on line 4. Exit the underground metro and orient yourself. There is a McDonalds across the street and you should look for this sign immediately. “Les Puces” which means “The Fleas.” Some nice person put a sticker right over the arrow but still follow it best you can.

2. Stay on the same side of the street (it has less people trying to sell you things, that is unless you need a cheap cell phone case or counterfeit Hello Kitty keychains) and follow the direction of the arrow on the sign north.

3. There are no more signs after that so continue walking the threeish blocks to Rue des Rossiers (which is the main street where all the flea markets are.) Look for this underpass with the circles on it and head towards that.

4. Do not stop and think this swap meet is the flea market, because it isn’t. (We came here on our honeymoon and I thought it was, aw, we were so adorable. Lost, but adorable.)

5. As soon as you go under the underpass, cross the street and look for these green signs that are at the beginning of Rue des Rossiers. You’ve arrived!

Here is a little map of the different parts of the flea market. It is HUGE. I’ve been there four times and only seen about half of it. I’ll make this into a printable pdf later today so you can download it.

Paris Flea Market

I’ve only been to the Paris flea market twice but I can honestly say it is my favorite place in the whole world. I’m happy that it is so close and so easy to get to and it is open every weekend. I’m planning on getting to know it really well. Les Puces de Saint-Ouen is the largest flea market in the world and it is amazing as you would imagine it to be. It is made up of a maze of alleyways and a some buildings with everything you can imagine. I’m going to do another post on how to get there because I feel like there isn’t any information online that is very very clear. Here are some pictures from the last few weekends.

Have you been to the Paris Flea Market? Do you have any tips or tricks?