Want to go on a Parisian picnic but not sure how to plan one? This post will give you simple steps to planning the perfect picnic in Paris.
A picnic in Paris! It has always been on my long list of things to do in the French capital and I finally went on one, yay! And it’s everything I thought it would be and more!
The sun was out after some long cold days of the Parisian spring, the ambiance was great and cheese never tasted better! I guess that’s the magic of a Parisian Picnic.
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Honestly, Paris is one of the best cities to picnic in, it has a number of beautiful parks, gorgeous Seine banks and not forgetting picnicking right next to the famous Eiffel Tower!
But regardless of where you picnic in Paris, I guarantee you’ll have an amazing time.
But however exciting it is to go on a picnic in Paris, it can be quite intimidating to plan one especially if you’re doing it for the first time – but it doesn’t have to be!
And that’s where this post comes in, to show you simple steps to planning your perfect picnic in Paris, sharing all the little details I did when I was planning mine!
So if you’re ready to plan your Parisian picnic, let’s dive in already!
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
- Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Consider getting either the museum pass or the Paris city pass if you plan to visit a lot of attractions. The city pass comes with free transportation and access to the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can read my Paris museum pass review to see if it’s right for you.
- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
Steps to Planning the Perfect Picnic in Paris
1. Choose the Picnic day
The first thing to do when it comes to planning picnics in Paris is to choose a day. Make the weather forecast your friend to make sure that you choose a day when it will not rain at all or your Parisian picnic will be ruined.
If you’re visiting in summer, it may not be an issue but if you’re visiting Paris in springtime where the weather changes drastically almost every other day, you’ll need to choose a specific day when it will be sunny and warm outside.
Pro tip* Most picnic spots in Paris get crowded during the weekends as it’s not only the tourists but also the locals who come out to chill with their friends and family. So if you want to picnic without the huge crowds, you’re better off going for your Paris picnic during the weekdays.
2. Choose the time of the day you’ll picnic
Planning a Parisian picnic doesn’t just stop at picking the day, you have to pick the time of the day you want to go for the picnic. Do you prefer an afternoon picnic or an evening one?
If you have enough time in Paris, you can go both in the afternoon and in the evening on different days so that you get to enjoy the sun during the day but also a beautiful sunset and enjoy Paris at night by taking in views of the city lights.
It’s even better if you go for an evening picnic near the Eiffel tower at Champs de Mars to see it shimmer at every top of the hour.
Pro tip* If you choose to go for an afternoon picnic, I’d advise you to go a bit earlier like at mid-day so that you get the perfect spot before more people flock in.
Also, most Parisians choose to have their lunch in parks between 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm which means that chances of getting where to sit can be a bit tricky if you go at that time.
3. Choose a picnic spot in Paris
After knowing when you want to picnic and the time you’ll go, next on the Paris picnic planning agenda is actually finding the perfect picnic place in Paris.
Luckily for you, this will not be an issue as there are so many picnic spots in Paris to choose from.
To help you choose the perfect picnic spot in Paris, here are some of the parks I visited and loved.
This is where I actually had my first picnic in Paris and all I have to say is that it’s a beautiful park.
It has a pond that adds to the beauty of the park on top of the many sculptures that will speak to any art lover. And if you visit in spring, you’ll be able to enjoy the cherry trees that are scattered around the park.
So if you’re staying near the 8th arrondissement and want to escape the hives of tourists, head to Parc Monceau for a perfect picnic in Paris.
Along the Seine banks
Nothing beats a picnic along the seine! The incredible views of Paris, the sun, the reflection of some popular buildings on its surface, and the cool breeze makes the banks of the seine a perfect spot for a Parisian picnic.
Champs De Mars
Who wouldn’t want to picnic right next to the most famous landmark in Paris! A picnic at Champs de mars offers amazing views of the Eiffel tower.
And if you picnic in the evening, you’ll be treated to the best light show ever as you take in the sparkles of the Eiffel tower at every top of the hour for 5 minutes.
Also, if you visit during springtime, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best cherry blossoms in Paris by picnicking at Champs De Mars.
Related post: Where to get the best views of the Eiffel Tower
Parc Des Buttes- Chaumont
Indubitably one of the best parks in Paris offering incredible views, Parc Des Buttes- Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement is one of the places to go for a Parisian picnic.
The park offers so much to see and admire from the beautiful waterfalls, and the pond, to the hanging bridge making it not only a great spot to picnic but also a place to admire the beauty in Paris.
4. Buy the Picnic supplies
Shopping for picnic supplies is my favorite part when it comes to planning a picnic in Paris.
You can find most picnic supplies from any nearby store. Just go to a boulangerie for bread and pastries, to the supermarket for fruits and wine and other things you might need.
So to give you an idea of what to take, here is everything you should pack for your picnic in Paris.
What to pack for a Parisian picnic
A large picnic blanket is a must when packing for a picnic. I always see some people who opt to sit on the grass directly but I prefer having a picnic blanket in case the grass is a bit wet.
It’s nice to have a picnic basket like this one but as a traveler, it might be hard to own one on the go.
If you have a backpack, you can just pack all your picnic essentials in it. I actually used a backpack instead of a picnic basket since I didn’t have it at that time.
You’re bound to get thirsty while under the sun and that’s why you should take water in a bottle.
Opt for a reusable travel water bottle like this one which you can easily refill if you run out of what you initially packed.
And as a pro tip, you don’t need to buy bottled water, most parks in Paris have water fountains where you can get water from — don’t worry, it’s safe for drinking.
If your Paris picnic is during the afternoon, make sure to take sunglasses to protect your eyes.
I made the mistake of not taking a pair when I went for my first picnic in Paris and I learned the hard way. So don’t be like me, avoid this mistake while in Paris.
This is one of the Paris picnic essentials that is usually overlooked by most people yet it’s very important.
Remember you’re spending the entire afternoon under the sun and since it’s hot, chances are that you’re dressed in light open clothes which show off your skin. So take this sunscreen not to burn.
Food/Eats/Drinks to take for a Paris Picnic
Baguette: This is one of the favorite French foods and it shouldn’t miss on your picnic in Paris
Fruits: You can take any kind of fruits at your disposal but strawberries and grapes are a good start – I am all for grapes any time.
Cheese: Are you even in Paris if you don’t take cheese on a Parisian picnic? Certainly not! You can pack any cheese but the little pack of Aperivrais cheese is my favorite when it comes to picnics – (you can find it in most supermarkets).
Olives: They go perfectly well with a glass of wine but even without wine, I still packed them for my Paris picnic.
Drinks: Depending on what you fancy, you can either take wine, water, beer, or even fruit juice — any works well.
Sandwich: I am all about making sandwiches when going for a Parisian picnic since they’re easy to make and pack. You can make any kind of sandwich but a few things to add to your sandwich include; bread duh, mayonnaise for taste, salad, ham, cheese, etc.
Tortilla chips: Perfect if you take a pack with guacamole and works great as either an appetizer or when you’re just chilling as you wait for the sunset.
Salad: If sandwiches are not your gem, then opt for a salad instead.
Dessert: Wind up your picnic with some Parisian desserts. Since Paris has lots of them, it can be hard to choose what to take but you can check out my previous post about the best desserts in Paris to narrow it down.
Other items to pack for a picnic in Paris
Napkins: Clean away all the mess.
Tupperware: Perfect to pack your sandwich well
Wine glasses: If you choose to take wine, don’t forget to take wine glasses. You can check out these non-breakable wine glasses as they still look nice. I mean it’s easy to break normal wine glasses moving with them up and down.
Cutlery: This is something you can easily skip unless you pack food that requires it.
Wine opener: It’s so easy to forget it even when you just packed a bottle of wine.
5. Pack all your picnic supplies
By now you should have all the picnic supplies with everything packed well. If you bought a picnic basket, it should be easy but if not, you can just use your daypack.
Pro tip* Don’t feel like going through the process of sourcing all the picnic supplies? There are so many cafes in Paris where you can just order a ready-to-pick picnic basket – of course, it will be much more expensive than doing it yourself and in my opinion, it kinda takes away the fun of planning a picnic but some people don’t like the DIY route.
For some cafes, you can tell them what you’d like in your picnic basket and they will get everything for you, pack it and you can either pick it up from their cafe or they can deliver it to your preferred location.
Most cafes can offer this service but highly rated ones for packing a ready-to-go picnic include; Love picnic Paris, Picnics by Zia, and many others.
6. Dress Casually but chic
It can be intimidating to choose what to wear in Paris for a picnic but all you need to do is to dress comfortably, casually but also chic as that’s how most Parisians dress when going for picnics.
So what exactly should you wear for Paris picnics?
Floral round dress: Nothing beats a floral short round dress like this one. In my opinion, it’s the best dress code for Paris picnics.
Generally, the rule of thumb is to be comfortable while still looking pretty chic as most Parisaims make an effort to be fashionable so you wouldn’t want to be the only one looking “out of place”
Related post: What to wear in Paris in summer
7. Relax and enjoy your Parisian picnic
Finally, relax and enjoy your picnic. With all the preparations, you may want every little detail to be perfect but don’t worry if your picnic doesn’t end up looking like the Paris picnic photos you’ve seen on Instagram.
The idea is to relax and enjoy your day out in the city of love and not get a perfect photo (though it’s an added advantage if you get it lol).
Take in all the beauty, and the views, forget the distractions, and enjoy the Parisian picnic as it’s nothing like anything else.
Pro tip* Don’t leave any trash behind after your picnic. Pick it up and dump it in one of the many trash cans around the park.
Final Thoughts on How to Plan a Picnic in Paris
While in Paris, make sure that you plan at least one picnic before you leave the city as it’s one of the best things to do in Paris.
It will give you a chance to experience the real Paris aside from just visiting the popular places.
Have you ever gone for a picnic in Paris? How was your experience? What was the best part about it!
Share with me in the comments below and if you’re just planning your Parisian picnic, I hope that this post was helpful.
Check out these posts to help you plan your trip to Paris
- Best things to do in Paris at night
- Best places to get the incredible views of the Eiffel Tower
- Big mistakes to avoid while traveling in Paris
- Where to get the best views of Paris
- What to do in Paris in spring
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