The French art of picnicking
Spring has arrived in Paris and we have been graced with fabulous weather. Chairs and tables now fill the terraces outside cafés and people can be found lining the Seine.
Flowers are beginning to dress the barren trees and beautify the large boulevards. There is no doubt in my mind why so many songs, stories, and poems find Paris in the spring to be the perfect subject.
Spring time brings out my very favorite activity to do in Paris: picnicking.
Paris is home to many beautiful parks. Even in this large city, you can always find some green haven to spend the afternoon in. Because there is no shortage to choose from, you can find the park that suits you.
Being the well-manicured beauties they are, many parks in Paris do not allow you to lounge around in the grass but happily provide chairs to relax in.
Although the Jardin des Tuileries is only a ten minute walk away from my flat, I find myself making the journey to spend the day at my preferred spot, Parc des Buttes Chamount. It is unique and perfect for a picnic because it is one of the parks where sitting on grass is allowed.
Situated in the 19th arrondissement, it amazes me still that this park can be found in Paris. Sixty-one acres of rolling hills, waterfalls, cliffs, a lake, and several English and Chinese gardens — Parc des Buttes Chamount is the perfect city break found in the city!
Originally commissioned by Napoleon to be a garden exhibition, the park still serves much of this purpose today and is home to 47 different species of plants and trees.
You can spend an entire day exploring this park. I cannot count how many days I have spent here and I feel like I have only seen a fraction of what Parc des Buttes Chamount has to offer.
Picnicking in Paris is another form of art and Parisians have it mastered. There has not been one group I have passed by without being jealous of their spread. Cheese, bread, meat, wine, desserts… the list goes on. However luckily, this isn’t too hard of an art to learn.
Paris is known for its specialty stores — boulangeries, fromageries, charcuteries — making it one of the best places to get items for the perfect picnic. Local markets sell fresh produce and items like paella or delicious rotisserie chicken.
Grab a few baguettes, several types of cheese, cuts of meat or a chicken, and a bottle of wine and head over to your favorite spot. Picnics in the spring time are almost as important to Parisians as dinner parties.
My friends and I always wonder as we are basking in the glorious sun why the art of picnicking has slowly disappeared in the US. I cannot think of a better way to appreciate the good weather, the amazing food, great friends, and the beautiful parks that Paris has to offer — not to mention it is cost effective!
No matter where you are in the world, if the sun is out this weekend go enjoy a lazy day at your local park with some good friends. Find a bit of the Parisian in you!
Image credits: Coco Rosenthal