The best picnic spots in Paris
PUBLISHED: 14:23 14 June 2016
Enjoy a picnic in Paris in one of the city's many beautiful parks and gardens. Here's our pick of the best picnic spots in Paris
Sprawl out on the grass
Champ de Mars
Where better to enjoy a picnic in Paris than at the foot of the Eiffel Tower? The Champs de Mars lawn is invaded by locals and tourists alike as soon as the sun makes an appearance but there’s something very special about sitting back after devouring a baguette sandwich and looking up at the elegant tower.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Located in the 19th arrondissement this popular park is a favourite among Paris’ young and uber trendy crowd. It boasts cascades, artificial lakes and a high lookout point in the middle. Its hills make a perfect spot to put down your basket for a very cool Parisian picnic.
Parc de la Villette
Also in the 19th, this park houses a bucketful (or rather basketful) of cultural venues with several museums and three major concert venues all within the grounds of the 35-hectare park. Sit back and relax by nibbling on a picnic before a concert or after a fascinating visit at the largest science museum in Europe.
Parc de la Turlure
Montmartre has many secrets but perhaps not one as well kept as the small Parc de la Turlure. Located on the corner of the rues de la Bonne and du Chevalier de la Barre, it has a lawn and pretty arched alcoves topped by massive wisteria plants. Enjoy your picnic while looking up at breathtaking views of the Sacré Coeur.
This is one of the most elegant parks in Paris. It is situated in the 8th and boasts many architectural ‘follies’ such as sculptures of famous French figures like Maupassant, Chopin or Musset and an amazing Renaissance archway. You’ll be able to lay out the picnic blanket on the lawn and imagine yourself in Renaissance Paris.
Parc de Belleville
Located quite close to the Buttes Chaumont park, this smaller park has enough open greenery to lay out a picnic blanket but is not too large that it attracts big crowds. As Paris’ highest park, it’s the Parisians best-kept secret because of the amazing views of the city it offers.
Esplanade des Invalides
Stretching out for 500m on the north side of the Hotel des Invalides, this open esplanade reaches all the way to the river Seine. It offers outstanding vistas of some of Paris’ most prestigious and elegant buildings in the heart of the very chic 7th arrondissement.
Perch on chairs for a more classy picnic
Jardin du Luxembourg
As appealing as the manicured lawns of the Luxembourg gardens seem, you cannot walk or sit on the grass. But let that not deter you from bringing your baguette, cheese and grapes for a little picnic snack, there are plenty of benches and chairs to choose from, placed in front of the pond or under the shade of the trees.
Place des Vosges
Probably one of Paris’ oldest and most beautiful squares, place des Vosges in the 4th is the kind of place that stuns you to silence as you enter through the old archway. You can enjoy the lawn in the centre of the square but the benches around it are the best place to sit back and take in this unique site.
Jardin des Tuileries
Head for the beautiful Tuileries gardens, in the 1st arrondissement, for a more civilised picnic on the many benches and chairs scattered around. The gardens link the Louvre palace to place de la Concorde and are an outstanding example of French landscaping.
Go for the romantic riverside
Quais de la Tournelle
One of the locals’ favourite spots on the Seine riverbanks to enjoy a picnic apéritif is the Quais de la Tournelle. The quay has the best view of Notre-Dame in town and, with the bateaux mouches slowly gliding by, it is a very romantic spot to enjoy balmy summer evenings in Paris.
Square du Vert-Galant
Only seen properly from the quayside, this oddly-shaped park is located at the tip of Ile de la Cité in the 1st and is often overlooked. It has a cute, lawn shaped like a water drop, but most people dangle their legs over the edge of the quay to watch life on the Seine unfold with a picnic that often goes on long into the night.
Canal Saint Martin
The area around the Canal St Martin has developed in the past years into the new place to be in Paris. With handy rails and raised pavements, the banks of the canal are a perfect spot to open your hamper for a hearty picnic. If you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to impromptu acoustic concerts.
Find nature in the outskirts
Versailles’s gardens are probably as famous as the palace itself, and for good reason. Designed by André Le Nôtre, the Versailles grounds are a masterpiece of gardens à la française. Access to the park is free and there are several picnic areas where your sandwich will taste as grand as the palace in whose shadow you sit.
Bois de Vincennes
This parc is Paris’ second largest ‘green lung’ and is located on the edge of the 12th in the east of Paris. Famous for its racecourse, it is also a great opportunity to get out and about and enjoy some serious outdoor activity so a picnic is a good way to refuel before getting back to it!
Parc de Sceaux
This park is a little further out than the others but it’s definitely worth the RER ride, if only for the beautifully landscaped gardens designed by Le Nôtre and attached to a 17th-century chateau. A vast lawn makes the perfect relaxing picnic spot after your visit of the castle and museums set in the park.
Bois de Boulogne
Located on the edge of the 16th arrondissement, the Bois de Boulogne is the largest park in Paris. It used to be the Kings of France’s hunting grounds but is now a huge space for outdoor relaxation so a picnic here is mandatory. After you outdoor lunch, hire a boat for a gentle punt on the Lac Inférieur.
Remember to keep Paris beautiful by cleaning up after your picnic!
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