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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?

  1. Amy H.

    July 29, 2011

    And 7. — Saucisson sec! I love the charcuterie places in Paris. I recommend getting saucisson sec, some pate de campagne and some of that wonderful grated carrot vinaigrette salad for picnics.

  2. rebekka

    July 29, 2011

    A “big Paris fail”…LOL!

  3. Laetitia

    July 29, 2011

    May I correct’s not saucisse but saucisson sec (as Amy specified). 😉
    For picnics you can go in my neighborhood, in the 19th arrondissement.
    The Buttes Chaumont, lovely park (
    or you can go along the canal, right now it’s “Paris plage” (beach in Paris) (google “Bassin de la villette” on google map and have a look). There is less tourists ..that’s where real parisian go 😉

  4. Laetitia

    July 29, 2011 …in english 😉

  5. Jessica

    July 29, 2011

    Would love to see these photos, but GOOD LORD do they take a long time to load! I’m moving on…

  6. rachel

    July 29, 2011

    awesome, thanks for sharing these tips 🙂 I’m bookmarking for when I visit in october!

  7. Pâtisserie Paris

    July 29, 2011

    I like the Pont des Arts, or relaxing in the chairs at the Tuileries!

  8. Rachel

    July 29, 2011

    I agree with Jessica. Can you resize the photos so it doesn’t take 30 minutes to load up? I’d love to check them out but they’re taking foreeevvverrrrr.

  9. Emilie

    July 29, 2011

    A little sachet of Madeleines fresh from the bakery! The bois de Vincennes is lovely, esp. as it it nice to be in the woods in the middle of a hot summers day.

  10. Brenna [fabuleuxdestin]

    July 29, 2011

    I like that spot – as well as next to the Seine!

  11. Di

    July 29, 2011

    I was going to suggest Buttes Chaumont but I see that Laetitia has done so already. My other choices would be Jardins de Luxembourg; the Promenade Plantee in the 12th arrondisement; or Place des Vosges (sand pits for the kids and the most beautiful square).

  12. Kat

    July 29, 2011

    Thanks for the awesome suggestions! Although I don’t think I’ll be able to have a picnic in Paris anytime soon – I can still have a picnic locally and incorporate all these great ideas. Thanks Jordan!

  13. Hannah J. Holmes

    July 29, 2011

    a picnic every day? that’s the life! 🙂

  14. Cielle

    July 29, 2011

    yes, @Amy H. that carrot salad is the best!!! I’ve tried to recreate it here but nothing quite compares. Nutella on the leftovers of your baguette is a great desert. side note: I’m having no problems viewing the photos; perhaps it’s a slow internet connection? super side note: my captcha is in french! (soufflerie) a coincidence?!

  15. marlene

    July 29, 2011

    “If you are buying it from a supermarket you get a big Paris fail.” HAHAHAHAH!!!!

  16. The New Diplomats Wife

    July 29, 2011

    Jardin de Luxembourg for sure; also bois de vincennes during the jazz festival; jardin de tuileries, by the fountain/pond thing.

    we also have those napkins on a roll – stocked up at merci during a trip from vienna last year though am now seeing them all around both in US and europe so non-parisians be on the lookout. Small packet of wet wipe type napkins also come in handy.

  17. Jenny

    July 29, 2011

    Your son is so adorable. I just wanna hug him all day long. (: (Hope that’s not too creepy.)

  18. jillian

    July 29, 2011

    this is so sweet! i plan on having a few paris picnics on my honeymoon! xoxo jillian:: cornflake dreams

  19. Phuong

    July 29, 2011

    So lovely! Can’t wait for the chance to be in Paris again 🙂

  20. Katie

    July 29, 2011

    This is perfection, I’m so jealous! I am also going to admit attempting to saying Perfect Paris Picnic three times fast…fail

  21. Rhonda

    July 29, 2011

    I was in Paris just last April, I would have loved to have had a picnic at the Jardin de Luxembourg. I was too busy snapping photos….hunger escaped me on this trip.

  22. jordan

    July 29, 2011

    I optimized the photo size and changed it to Saucisson sec. Thanks for letting me know guys!

  23. Anna

    July 29, 2011

    Along the Canal St Martin, by Chez Prune. There’s no grass to spread out, but the people watching is ne plus ultra

  24. bettijo @

    July 29, 2011

    mmmmm… looks absolutely delicious in every way 🙂

  25. Diane

    July 29, 2011

    This is a fabulous post! We were in Paris for a month on our honeymoon and went on many picnics. Renting bicycles and picnicing in the Bois de Boulogne was a hit. Stay away from that park at nighttime though. On a side note you shouldn’t miss the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, run the first weekend in October. Amazing people watching. It makes the hats the ladies wear at the Kentucky Derby look lame by comparison!

  26. Brooke Rane

    July 29, 2011

    i loved to picnic at parc monceau and buttes-chaumont. beautiful parks and great people watching.

  27. JoAC

    July 29, 2011

    I always come back from Paris 5 lbs heavier. It’s crimson the picnics!

  28. Chelsea

    July 29, 2011

    Great post! My dream is to have one of those fantastic wicker picnic baskets with the holders for plates and cups and utensils!

  29. Ridgely's Radar

    July 29, 2011

    What a great post! What could be better than a picnic in Paris!

  30. Cordelia

    July 29, 2011

    Buttes Chaumont all the way. Beautiful photos! But I’m going to go ahead and say that plates and utensils aren’t necessary (if you’re okay with sharing). Sometimes you just need a knife!

  31. Sarah

    July 29, 2011

    if you’re ever interested in exploring the neighborhoods just outside the city, Saint Germain-en-laye (last stop on the RER B) has a great old castle with beautiful grounds. One of my favorite picnic spots… also, if you want to check out the castle, it’s dripping in interesting history (it was begun in the 1100s, and Louis XIV was born there).

  32. abby

    July 29, 2011

    where is that lovely dress from? i’m dying over it!

  33. aj

    July 29, 2011

    Jardins de Luxembourg and champs de Mars are my faves too 🙂 I also happened to visit Versailles on a perfect day in March this year and had a fabulous picnic near la pavillion de musique in Marie Antoinette’s gardens.

    ps, I just started reading your blog recently, and I’m loving it! I lived in France (Paris for 3 months and 6 months in Arles in the south) nearly 3 years ago, and I miss it terribly. I was lucky enough to visit this spring, but it will probably be a long time before I make it back now. So thank you for sharing your adventures with this francophile New Yorker!

  34. Kate

    July 29, 2011

    Parc Floral de Paris is amazing and magical for a picnic!
    And Comte cheese is one of the things I miss about France.

  35. Nothing But Bonfires

    July 29, 2011

    Ooh, I had a lovely picnic at L’Eglise Saint-Eustache last time I was in Paris (actually, right around the corner from La Droguerie!)

    My Paris picnic must-haves: everything you’ve listed above, plus a couple of chocolate pot de cremes and some of that lovely fresh French apple juice. And maybe a bag of Carambars for dessert (did you know, I just found them in Miette today! 35 cents each, which is crazy when you can buy a bag of 50 for, like, two euros in Carrefour, but it means I don’t have to ration the ones I have anymore.)

  36. So pretty!

    July 29, 2011

    Oh- so sweet and pretty!! I love the simplicity but also the thought behind it.

  37. Lauren

    July 29, 2011

    My husband and I prepared a lovely picnic dinner on our honeymoon an began eating it in a park near the sacre couer. About halfway through, some Parisian police came and said (in thick accent) “excuse me, you must finish your dinner, the park is closed” his co worker then scolded him for being impolite and not saying “please”! That tickled us to no end.
    Honestly, pretty much any green spot in Paris is a good place for a picnic. I wish I were back now.
    And as for supermarket baking, we got macarons from a carrefour and they were still pretty delicious… But we did go to the boulanger for our bread and croissants. And the best thing from the cheese shop was the butter. I could write a novel about that butter.
    The other thing we did was go to a market to buy paella from a man named Francois. The most amazing paella ever!

  38. agi

    July 29, 2011

    Parc de Sceaux et alles de Cygnes for picnic 🙂

  39. My Traveling Troop

    July 29, 2011

    Looks like a delicious way to spend the day!

  40. Manuela

    July 30, 2011

    Try Jardin du Ranelagh, very calm and cozy, complete with the statue of La Fontaine.

    If you like Comté, try the Beaufort d’été. It is a cheese coming from Savoy, a bit expensive and to be found only in fromagerie, but with an exquisite taste.

  41. Lorren

    July 30, 2011

    I love Parc Monceau – one of my favorite picnic spots. When I lived in Paris we sometimes had “crepe picnics” – we made several crepes before leaving and wrapped them in tinfoil, then brought some soft, spreadable cheese like Brie, Camembert, or a really soft chevre and some meat for our savory crepes, and nutella, cut-up strawberries and bananas for our sweet crepes. It was simple but delicious.

  42. renniekay

    July 30, 2011

    Also dying for that dress! Where’s it from?

  43. Kacie

    July 30, 2011

    You are making me miss Paris! I love every little photo and item in this spread! It’s exactly what my many Paris Picnic have looked like. You rock!


  44. Shena

    July 30, 2011

    Where oh where did you get your beautiful dress? Such a gorgeous post…right down to the linen picnic blanket.

  45. Hilary

    July 30, 2011

    Picnicking is the activity du jour for sure – my friends and I have been picnicking up a storm around San Francisco. So much so that I just put together some perfect picnic guides/checklists and outfits up at GourmetStyleGirl!

    Love this post 🙂

  46. Collins

    July 30, 2011

    i can’t get over these photos. and your dress. it’s precious!

  47. Desfruitsrouges

    July 30, 2011

    Ham and butter sandwiches are my absolute favorite. Every time I have gone to France I have insisted on having them for lunch like every day. Your blog is amazing and I am so so jealous that you are living in Paris! Your sweater/dress combination is just gorgeous.

  48. Nira

    July 30, 2011

    I am in love with this! It is a dream of mine to have a paris picnic!!!
    You photographed it beautifully…well executed meal I say!

  49. Rebecca

    August 1, 2011

    Fantastic! Paris picnics are absolutely perfect.

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