Once temperatures crept up in Paris last summer, I rarely ate any meals indoors anymore. Starting around April, we would spend all of our evenings either somewhere on a lawn or near the Seine, eating and drinking until we had to catch our metros home. Those months were magical, and the places where we spent those nights will always be extra special to me. Today I wanted to share with you my guide to the best picnic spots in Paris. From hidden courtyards to floating islands on the Seine, be sure to enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of wine and a great meal in one of these locations.
« In The Park »
Parc Monceau // Parc Monceau is extra special for me, because I lived about a 5 minute walk away. I spent so much time here, whether at night with friends, alone with a book, or playing soccer with my au pair kids. The park is not to be missed, there are wonderful old Roman monuments and the quaintest merry-go-round (pictured above). Full of life, and completely void of tourists.
Tuileries // While more filled with tourists, the landscaping itself is a work of art and not to be missed. Grab a baguette and sit yourself down by one of the many fountains. In the warmer months children like to play with sailboats in the water, the atmosphere is incredibly endearing.
Jardin du Luxembourg // Located right by where I always had class, Jardin du Luxembourg is where I ate many lunches. The garden is massive, and filled with impressive old buildings and the beautiful Medici Fountain. There are also tennis courts and walking paths.
Jardin des Plantes // This is a place I recommend you visit in the spring (check out this post to see why). Located right by the fascinating paleontology museum (photos here), the park is filled with incredible blooms in April and May. Not too overfilled with tourists as well and slightly on the edge of the city, it’s very peaceful, the perfect place to read a book or just sit down and observe the people going by.
« By The Water »
Les Berges // Les Berges are little islands floating on the Seine. They even start to bob as boats go by! I spent countless afternoons here lying in the sun, enjoying lunch with a wonderful view. Not a lot of tourists know about this place (a reason I loved it so much), so you’ll be hanging with the locals. Be sure to stop by during the day, as at night the drawbridge goes up and the islands close.
Quai D’Orleans // Quai d’Orleans is by far my favorite place in the entire city, even the world. I took every person that ever visited me here, and it’s where I spent the last night I had in the city. It’s a sitting area on Ile St. Louis that juts out onto the Seine. I find it incredibly peaceful, and I, a person who is generally not good at being alone, savored many solo afternoons here just listening to music and watching the ships go by. You have a gorgeous view of pretty French houses and Hotel de Ville.
« Famous Monuments »
Invalides // Invalides became a meeting point for us in the summer because a) it was super central for everybody, and b) the incredible view of the building while enjoying a bottle of wine on the lawn. In the summer, the huge lawn in front of Invalides becomes packed with students, music playing from portable speakers into the early hours of the morning. An incredible atmosphere, and easy to walk home from after the metros have long stopped running.
Champ de Mars // One of the most magical moments I had last summer? Sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower with friends and watching it sparkle as the last rays of light faded from the sky. This area tends to get pretty packed in the summer, so I would take a seat further back. The view is incredible from everywhere!
In front of Centre Pompidou // While not a typical picnic area, we always loved spreading out in front of the Centre Pompidou. Not only is the building itself beautiful, but during the summer there are round the clock music and street performances. If it gets too cold in the evening, pop into one of the many cozy bars around Chatelet (a list with my recommendations coming very soon).
« Hidden Treasures »
Jardin des Rosiers-Joseph-Migneret // Other than Quai D’Orleans, this is probably my other favorite place in Paris. It’s a garden in the Marais, accessible only through a tiny gate nestled between two shops. I only found it because a French friend showed me the way. Go through the gate and you’ll find two divine little gardens, filled with only a few locals. My tradition was to grab a falafel (the falafel shops are only a few feet down the way), and curl up here to enjoy my meal.
Palais Royal // I also classify this one as a hidden treasure, because simply, not a lot of people know about this place. Located in the center of the city (close to the Louvre), I only stumbled across these gorgeous gardens after a very Paris-savvy friend insisted on taking me. For being literally in the middle of the city, it’s so peaceful and quite here, the perfect escape from a city that can be quite loud and busy.
Places des Vosges // I found out about this beautiful park through my father, who spent a lot of time here when he was my age. Located right by Victor Hugo’s home, it’s surrounded by gorgeous old Paris apartment (not affordable). Around the park you’ll find countless art galleries, perfect if you fancy and afternoon of taking in loads of new art.
I hope you guys have found some Paris picnic inspiration! Outdoor areas just become alive in the summer, we spent nights where we chatted with those around us until 3am. The city this time of year is a dream.
Thank you for reading and until next time! xx Julia