There are few things more blissful than a picnic in Paris. Beautiful weather, friends, cheese, baguette, red wine… what’s not to love? Over the years, I’ve picnicked almost everywhere in Paris — from the Seine to the banlieues to everywhere in between. So I wanted to put together a guide on my recommendations for where to picnic in Paris.
This list includes parks, canals, and even specific quays on the Seine — and I’ve included a handy map to help you find them.
I’ve also included which foods and beverages to pack, because what’s a picnic if not a reason to enjoy delicious food and wine?
The absolute best picnic spots in Paris:
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
One of Paris’ largest parks, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont feels like a nature reserve within the city with its steep cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls. It’s one of my favorite picnicking spots, with plenty of grass and panoramic views of the city.
Tip – hike up to the Roman-inspired Temple de la Sibylle for snapshot-worthy views which stretch to the Sacré-Cœur.
Where to find it: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is located in the 19th arrondissement, in the northwest corner of Paris.
While grass is in short supply along the Canal Saint-Martin, it’s still an excellent place to picnic. The canal is especially glorious in summer, when locals congregate along the canal to drink wine, play music, smoke, and soak up the sun.
Stock up on picnic supplies at Du Pain et Des Idées, my favorite bakery in Paris. It’s home to the famous, deliciously rustic Pain des Amis bread, as well as an assortment of escargot pastries, which change their filling depending on what’s in season. (My favorite is cassis and rhubarb!)
Alternatively, order a pizza from Pink Flamingo pizzeria and they’ll deliver the pizza to your picnic spot on the canal, finding you via a pink balloon that they give you in advance.
Where to find it: The Canal Saint-Martin is located in the trendy 10th arrondissement on the right bank. Post-picnic, check out a few nearby bars like Chez Jeanette and L’Alimentation Générale.
The elegant Luxembourg Gardens have a quintessentially Parisian feel. Pull up a chair in front of the main fountain and watch children race model boats, while (of course) enjoying prime Parisian people-watching.
After you’ve had enough of sipping pinot under palm trees, take a stroll around the park to enjoy the lengthy promenades. Keep an eye out for the small-scale model of the Statue of Liberty that dates back to 1870.
Where to find it: The Jardin du Luxembourg is located on the right bank in the well-heeled sixth arrondissement. It’s walking distance to the Seine.
Place des Vosges
Tucked away in Le Marais, the upscale Place des Vosges is a 17th century square that was once home to the French aristocracy.
The Place des Vosges is one of the smaller picnicking spots in Paris, so be sure to turn up early on a spring or summer day in order to snag a spot on the grass. FYI – there is free wifi in the park.
Where to find it: The Place des Vosges is located on the right bank in Le Marais. If you’re a Les Mis fan, stop by Maison de Victor Hugo, the author’s former home, which is located in the square.
Located in the sleepy 17th arrondissement, the rolling hills of Parc Monceau are a breath of fresh air from Paris’ crowds and congestion.
Across the park you will stumble upon a wide variety of archeological treasures, such as an Egyptian pyramid, a Chinese fort, a Dutch windmill, and Corinthian pillars.
Where to find it: Parc Monceau is in the 17th arrondissement. It’s somewhat far from Central Paris, but can be reached on the métro.
The banks of the Seine
Far and away, my favorite place to picnic in Paris is along the quays of the Seine. Because is there anything more Parisian than enjoying a picnic across the river from the Notre Dame?
My favorite spot is Quai de la Tournelle, which is — you guessed it — across the river from the Notre Dame.
Pro-tip – if you want to practice your French, come here at around 9 p.m. in summer. It will be full of locals, who will be more than happy to chat with you (see below).
Where to find it: Walk down the stairs next to the Pont de l’Archevêché, and you’ll find the Quai de la Tournelle. If you can’t find that specific spot don’t worry; there are so many great spots along the quays.
And last but not least, Parc Montsouris!
My most recent find on this list, Parc Montsouris is a beautiful park with sloping lawns and a man-made lake. It’s a great place to sprawl out for a picnic. And because it’s somewhat far from central Paris, it’s frequented almost exclusively by locals.
While it’s not the first place that might come to mind when you think about where to picnic in Paris, it’s a hidden gem.
Where to find it: Parc Montsouris is located in the uneventful 14th arrondissement. But if you’re in the mood to try a new park and don’t mind the trek, it’s an excellent spot.
What to pack for a Paris picnic:
- A baguette or two. When at the bakery (boulangerie), order the baguettes “pas trop cuite” (lightly baked) so they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Cheese. Head to a cheese chop (fromagerie) to find the best cheese. Goat cheese (chèvre) is always a popular choice, but some other great options are Salers, Coeur Neufchâtel, and Saint-Félicien.
- Charcuterie. You can pick up charcuterie (cured meats) at the charcutier, or charcuterie shop. Good selections are pâté, rilletes, or saucisson. (Don’t forget to bring a knife! I recommend a lightweight, folding Opinel.)
- Fruit. Just buy whatever’s in season at the farmer’s market or grocery store. I’d recommend a small crate of strawberries.
- Beverages. My favorite picnicking beverage is sparkling cider from Brittany (brut – dry, not doux – sweet), but wine is always a great choice. If you don’t have a bottle opener, pick up a bottle of cider or champagne which you can simply pop open. Beer is pricey in France so I would skip it. Don’t forget a few bottles of water as well.
- A blanket or sarong to lie on.
- Don’t forget dessert! Stop by the pâtisserie (pastry shop) and pick up a few pastries such as éclairs or religieuses (see below).
Have you ever picnicked in Paris? What’s your favorite spot?
P.S. The Lunch Spots in Paris It Took Me a Year to Find and The 10 Most Crazy Delicious Foods You Must Eat in Paris.
Note: This post was originally published on a blog that is (sadly) now defunct.
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5 thoughts on “Where to Find the Best Picnic Spots in Paris”
I’ve never actually picnicked in Paris (sadly), but one of my favorite places to just sit and watch everything going on is the Canal de la Villette. Old men fishing, people playing boules, others rowing down the canal – it’s pretty much the definition of idyllic. :)
I absolutely LOVE Canal de la Villette! I love watching the old men play boules. It’s just so charming, and as you said, idyllic :)
Yep! Paris is the best!
Does going to a farmers’ market, buying crusty bread, tomatoes and cheese, and then scoffing them on the steps while people – watching count?
Totally counts! I’ve done it many times :)
Haw! Haw! Haw!
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