With countless bakeries brimming with baguettes that practically cry out to be eaten in the fresh air, Paris is an ideal city to stage an urban picnic. Luckily, the City of Lights has no shortage of picture-perfect river banks and gorgeous parks that pair well with cheese and wine, and a picnic is a fantastic way to spend a few hours on your holiday to Paris.
Whether you prefer tourist-free gardens or trendy canal seating – here are the best places to picnic in Paris, many within walking distance from your Paris hotel.
Champ de Mars
There is hardly a more iconic spot to spread out a picnic blanket than in the green park at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Many years ago, the public park was full of small plots growing vegetables and fruits for the people of Paris. The edible gardens are gone, but the space remains an ideal setting in which to enjoy your own food and wine – particularly as the sun sets and the light show on the famous landmark tower begins.
Indulge your inner bohemian spirit with a picnic along Canal Saint-Martin. The shaded waterway was covered in the 19th century to create public spaces along its banks. The charming and calm area is popular with university students, who traipse across the picturesque iron footbridges of the canal with a drink or a quick meal in hand in order to enjoy a budget-friendly break along the water.
Channel your inner royalty with an al fresco meal in the Jardin des Tuileries. Created by Catherine de Medici, the beautifully designed park runs between the Louvre Museum and the Palace de la Concorde. You can also enjoy views of the Musée d’Orsay and the Champs-Élysées from the park’s wide green lawns. The popular garden has ample benches in the shade of its manicured hedges – all of which are perfect for enjoying a classic French picnic with a side of champagne.
Square du Vert Galant
Situated on one of the two islands on the Seine, Square du Vert Galant has been designated a ‘espace vert écologique’ (ecological green space) by the city. Bursting with gorgeous greenery, the outpost on the river is a romantic stop for a do-it-yourself meal. Pack your picnic basket with French finger foods and settle in for a leisurely lunch before strolling along the rest of the Ile de la Cité.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Venture outside of the city centre to take advantage of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont – one of the largest parks in Paris. The Belleville park has a series of rolling hills, the odd waterfall, and outdoor cafes which attract local picnic seekers on sunny days. Thanks to its more informal design, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont has an easygoing ambiance good for lingering over platters of cheese and charcuterie.
Place des Vosges
Filled with aristocratic architecture, world-class museums and trendy boutiques, the Marais is a popular Parisian destination for good reason. One unmissable local stop is the neighbourhood’s Place des Vosges, which was the city’s very first planned park. Luckily, the Marais is also packed with specialty shops that offer plenty of gourmet picnic fixings to tote back to the elegant open square. Settle in for a snack on the wide lawns to re-fuel before tackling the area’s many modern art galleries.