5 picnic spots in Paris, & the best (most delicious) ways to get there
As the shorter days begin to roll in, it’s the perfect time to enjoy an autumn picnic in Paris. The weather is milder and the colours are simply gorgeous.
To help you make the most of this autumn, we’ve prepared a list of our five favourite picnic spots in the city. Pick up some soft French cheese, a bottle of wine and a baguette for a wonderful day out in the most beautiful city in the world.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
We’ve already waxed lyrical about the French art of picnicking in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, and for very good reason! The entire park is a wonderful spot for a picnic, but on hot days, we love a spot on the grass in the shade next to the little streams that feed into the lake. Kick your shoes off, dip your feet in the cool water and enjoy.
We suggest taking the metro to Jourdain and picking up some excellent bread and croissants from Au 140 – and perhaps a bag of coffee for home from La Brûlerie de Jourdain. From there, head down the rue de Belleville to grab a delicious sandwich from O Divin Epicierie (it’s perfectly acceptable to have both bread AND a sandwich). Snap up a ripe cheese from the Fromagerie Beaufils, and a bottle of organic wine (or cider) from Ma Cave en Ville, before turning right onto the avenue Simon Bolivar to the parc.
It’s best to come here in early evening, as watching Paris transition from day into night is a magical experience. A night-time picnic here will give you unrivalled views of the Notre Dame from behind.
Starting from Censier-Daubenton, your first stop will be at Carl Marletti for an outrageously good millefeuille praliné. Continuing up rue Monge will take you past the original Eric Kayser store (you’ll get really hot bread around 6pm) where we’d suggest une tradition: bien cuit.
Hustle on to Place Maubert and drop into the award-winning fromagerie Laurent Dubois for great French cheese. Cut across the rue du Cardinal Lemoine to the Île St-Louis, and then take the steps down to the Quai d’Orléans just in time to catch the sunset.
Tip: If you want to take photos of yourself with the Nôtre Dame in the background at night time, just wait for one of the passing tourist bateaux to provide you with perfect foreground flood lighting!
Jardin du Luxembourg
Already one of the most beautiful places within the city, the jardin becomes absolutely extraordinary on clear autumn days. Take a long stroll through the soft carpet of fallen leaves and admire the way that the trees catch the afternoon sun to glow in all glorious shades of red, gold and brown.
We suggest coming from Sèvres – Babylone, which will allow you to pop into Le Bon Marché to pick up some very fancy French food. We find it hard to go past a block of demi-sel butter from Jean-Yves Bordier, which goes perfectly with some fresh bread and thinly sliced jambon. Passing by Saint Sulpice will also bring you dangerously close to Pierre Hermé, where pretty much everything is delicious.
Square du Temple
For early morning picnickers, the Square du Temple is ideally located with full morning sun, grass you can sleep on, and ducks paddling gently in the pond.
Excellent caramels, chocolates and millefeuilles made to order can be obtained from the legendary Jacques Genin, which is just across the road. From there, it’s an easy walk to The Broken Arm, where you can get a very good coffee to go to enjoy at the parc. For a heavier picnic or lunch afterwards, you can always pop down to the Marché des Enfants Rouges where excellent French produce is available.
Parc de Belleville
For a slightly alternative picnic with an Asian flair, the Parc de Belleville is a great choice for a lazy afternoon. The terrace at the top of the parc provides sweeping views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower, and is a popular spot for local musicians to congregate.
From Metro Belleville, your first stop should be at the Panda Belleville. €3.50 will get you a piece of French-Vietnamese colonial history in the form of a delicious banh mi. Pop into any of the grocery stores on your way up the hill to pick up some imported beers, fruit and mysterious imported snacks and enjoy your walk through one of Paris’s most vibrant and multicultural areas.
Where are your favourite picnic spots in Paris for this autumn? Share with us in the comments below!
1. Picnicking by the Seine, © Hannah Duke.
2. Parc des Buttes Chaumont,© Hannah Duke.
3. Île Saint Louis by FredArt, via Flickr.
4. Jardin de Luxembourg by David McSpadden, via Flickr.
5. Square du Temple by RG1033, via Flickr.
6. Parc de Belleville by Daniel Zimmel, via Flickr.