A Paris Picnic: 9 of the Best Picnic Places in Paris
A Paris picnic is the absolute best way to feel like a local. Parisians love their bistros and cafés but equally adore eating outside in their parks and by the Seine. When visiting Paris, create your very own Parisian picnic experience. Buy some gastronomic delights and head to one of these fabulous parks for your very own picnic in Paris.
Did you bring your red checkered tablecloth?
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There’s only one rule for a Parisian picnic and that is, as with all French meals, take your time, savor the food, soak up the ambiance, and as a foreigner take this opportunity to observe the Parisians picnicking nearby.
9 of the Best Picnic Spots in Paris
The Banks of the Seine
The Banks of the Seine is the ultimate place for a Parisian picnic. No grass. No fountains. No picnic tables. And it is absolutely perfect. Anywhere along the Seine will do. Pick your picnic spot close to where you are staying or in full view of a favorite landmark or bridge. Eiffel tower views are guaranteed!
Sit on the pavement, dangle your legs over the river’s edge, relax, and enjoy. You are in Paris after all.
Here along the banks of the Seine, one is guaranteed the full Parisian experience. Just watch. Couples share an intimate kiss and bubbly champagne. Groups of friends gather around sharing baguettes, cheese, and wine (or fruit juice!) while others eat pizza slices in the midst of writing lyrics to guitar music.
Lived moments all set to a backdrop of barges bustling their wares up and down this major waterway. Stay late until the bridges are lit up, and promenade until your feet hurt! This is Paris.
A Parisian picnic in the Jardin du Luxembourg is unforgettable. Start with a stroll along the gravel pathways lined with elm trees and tucked-away statues. Can you find a game of pétanque underway or the beehives and insect shelters sheltered in a shady corner?
Infamous green metal chairs are spread around the garden for relaxing, reading, and chatting with a friend. Set a model sailboat slipping across the pond under the watchful eye of the Luxembourg Palace. Perhaps it is a day when a musical entourage will entertain you in the round pavilion.
In the Jardin du Luxembourg it is forbidden to sit on the grounds except at the south end of the park. Here is another perfect place for a picnic! On a beautiful day, you will be in the good company of many Parisian couples and families. Set out your baguette sandwiches and enjoy.
Still hungry for more time in the garden? Check out the Medici fountain or pop into the Luxembourg Museum for the latest exhibition.
Location: Situated on the border of Saint-Germain des Pré and the Latin Quarter in the 6th Arrondissement.
Step through one of the nine wrought-iron gateways into Parc Monceau and immediately you know that you have landed in a tranquil oasis not visited by many tourists. Meander the pathways of Parc Monceau and find statues (can you find Chopin playing the piano?), the Egyptian pyramid, and the Corinthian columns.
Don’t miss the Rotunda at the main gates to the park on Boulevard de Courcelles. It is one of the remaining tollhouses from the wall built around Paris in 1787. In 1797, Parc Monceau was the site of the first silk parachute jump. Can you find the monument commemorating this historic event?
When you have worked up an appetite, sit on one of the free benches, or spread your picnic blanket on the grass. You might be the only tourists around on this authentic Parisian picnic.
Location: 35 Blvd de Courcelles bordering the 8th arrondissement and the 17th arrondissement.
The branches of the enormous chestnut trees stretch across the bridges of Canal Saint-Martin as boats lazily make their way up and down the locks of the Canal. People of all ages sit on the edge of the canal swinging their legs and sharing a glass or two.
This bustling place is Canal Saint-Martin.
Wander down Rue de Lancry and pick up picnic supplies for your picnic basket at some of the independent boutiques and find a bench by the canal to enjoy your Parisian picnic.
Needing some grass? The Jardin Villemin on the Quai de Valmy is a lovely small park where you can spread your picnic blanket out and relax. You just never know, maybe there will be a band playing on the bandstand.
Location: Quai de Valmy and Quai de Jemmapes in the 10th Arrondissement.
Place Louis Aragon
Situated on the point of Île Saint Louis is Place Louis Aragon. In true French fashion, bring a little collection of Louis Aragon’s poetry or fire up Youtube or Spotify for a selection of his songs sung by Leo Ferre. Now there’s a romantic way to start your Parisian picnic.
You won’t find any grass in this location but there are a couple of benches to sit on. Better still lean against the stone wall and watch the barge traffic bustling up and down the Seine. Look over your shoulder to see the Pantheon in the distance, and Notre Dame Cathedral is also in view.
If you would like to be closer to the water, find one of the stairways leading down to the Seine and sit at the very point of Ile Saint-Louis on the stone pier. It’s a quiet and lovely location, one of my favorites in Paris. Leave room for an ice cream from the famous Berthillon shop nearby.
Location: Quai de Bourbon in the 4th Arrondissement.
[If you want a similar experience but with grass, head to Square du Vert Galant at the tip of the Ile de la Cité, next to the Pont Neuf in the 1st arrondissement.]
Square du Temple – Elie Weisel
If you find yourself exploring in le Marais, another fantastic location for the perfect Parisian picnic is Square du Temple- Elie Weisel. This leafy green park is full of benches, a lovely pond with ducks, and Parisians on their lunch break from work.
Square du Temple is a short walk from Marché des Enfants Rouges where you can order Moroccan couscous, Italian fare, or a famous delectable sandwich from Alain Miam Miam’s stall (just look for the long line). There are plenty of shops along Rue de Bretagne to buy picnic supplies as well. Position yourself amongst the lovely flowerbeds or by the pond and soak up some moments of tranquil Paris.
Location: 64 rue de Bretagne in the 3rd Arrondissement.
[Andi's note: We stayed in an Airbnb right across the street from this park and walked through it every day for 2 weeks. I can attest it is a great spot!]
Parc des Buttes Chaumont, one of the largest green spaces in Paris, is a favorite with locals thus making it a great choice for a Parisian picnic. Before settling on a grassy hillside for your picnic, wander a little and be sure to take in the magnificent views over Paris, particularly towards Montmartre.
Did you find the suspension bridge, the 50-meter cliff topped with the Temple de la Sybille, and the hidden waterfall? From Thursdays to Sundays, augment your picnic with tapas, pizzas, or oysters (now there’s a French picnic for you!) at Rosa Bonheur, a bar situated in a little house at the northern end of the park. You’re sure to be surrounded by locals.
Location: 1-7 rue Botzaris in the 19th Arrondissement.
Place des Vosges
Thanks to Henry IV this gorgeous square was finished in 1605 and today remains one of Paris’s most beautiful. The fountains in each corner, the ancient chestnut trees, and the stunning architecture of the surrounding red-brick buildings make this the perfect place for a Parisian picnic.
You will be in good company as this is a favorite place for Parisians to gather. Find your spot on the grass amongst families and sunbathers and spread out that red-checkered tablecloth. Ah! This is the life!
Location: in the 4th Arrondissement.
Le Parc de la Villette
Le Parc de la Villette is perfect for a Parisian picnic paired with an outing. There are plenty of grassy areas at Parc de la Villette as this is the largest park in Paris with 55 hectares. Built on the site of the former slaughterhouses, this large park, and the cultural area has the Music Museum and the City of Science and Industry museum, the largest science museum in Europe.
There is plenty of walking and cycling to do along the Ourcq Canal here. Don’t miss the open-air cinema in the summer or the chance or pilot your own little boat around the Bassin de la Villette. Allow plenty of time for exploring on this Parisian picnic.
Location: 211 Avenue Jean Jaures in the 19th Arrondissement.
Author bio: Alison Browne's website Dreamer at Heart tells tales of her five years of mostly solo nomadic travel in various parts of the world. She is currently living her dream in Paris where she landed just before the confinement began.
Merci Alison for the brilliant post on Paris picnics! Given our love for picnics in the Misadventures family, it is a subject that I have wanted to write about for quite a while!
There are hundreds of parks and gardens in Paris so you have plenty of options for your Paris picnic in one of them as well! A few more favorite spots amongst Parisians are:
- The classic picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower on the Champ de Mars
- Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement
- Have a picnic in the sand in the summer at Paris Plage along the Seine
- The Jardin des Plantes is very popular and even has picnic tables!
And if we can't get to Paris to picnic you can bring the Paris picnic to you with one of my favorite books:
Picnic at Home: Paris Picnic Club
A weekly picnic with friends that turned into a pop-up restaurant, that turned into a blog, that turned into a beautifully illustrated book chronicling the journey and recipes of Shaheen Peerbhai and Jennie Levitt, the Paris Picnic Club is one of my favorites! Mr. Misadventures and I absolutely love to picnic and do it wherever we are in the world!
A great spot to get picnic supplies is at a [farmers] market, here are some tips for etiquette to ensure the best experience!
Illustration commissioned from Linden Eller.
How about you? Have you ever picnicked in Paris? Have you tried out any of these 9 spots? How about another? Do share! Do you love picnics in general? What's your go-to picnic meal? Do tell!
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Oh what great places to have picnics. Someday I hope I can travel and see some of these places and just sit and take it all in. Bring a little picnic and enjoy. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing your adventures.
Such places for a picnic and what a way to see Paris. The history and great parks make these venues so amazing and pristine.
I wish I were here. I LOVE Paris and would love to have a picnic there one day. Plus I love French food.
I would absolutely love to go back to Paris one day – it is such a beautiful place with so much to see. These sound like some fantastic picnic locations.
Bookmarked! Have you ever thought about putting a trip together with you as a guide? I’d buy that in a hot minute, after Covid.
What a lovely idea to enjoy a picnic in Paris. I love that you shared some of the best locations to enjoy a Paris picnic. I’m sure many travelers to Paris will love this resource.
These are gorgeous places! I hope we have something like these in our area.
To have a picnic in Paris is a beautiful dream! These places are magical!
Oh my gosh, this is actually one of my biggest life dreams. One day, life will take me to Paris! Thanks for all the suggestions.
That is one of my best memories from visiting Paris. Sitting outside with a baguette and enjoying the beauty of the city.
This looks amazing. Paris is my number one place at the top of my list to go. I have always wanted to go there. It looks so beautiful. I could see myself having a picnic there too. It would be amazing.
I love hanging out to have a picnic! Wether it is daytime or at night. Thank you so much for sharing these ideas, will surely go in there when i have time
I can’t wait to return to Paris some day and I’m going to save this for picnic ideas for when I do.
Those are lovely places! I’ll be able to enjoy a chat and food with the view.
This looks SO dreamy!! What a great post! I hope one day I can picnic in Paris!
What a fun list of places! It would be neat to be able to check out a bunch of these spots to picnic.
What fun ideas! This is making me want to go back to Paris just to have a parisian picnic! Thank for sharing all these lovely spots with us…ah picnics!
I’ve never thought of going on a picnic in Paris before. It’s a great idea and I love the locations you’ve mentioned!
All of them look perfect for a family get-together!
We were supposed to be in Paris for Thanksgiving. Dang COVID. Oh well. I am saving this for when we get to go. Crossing our fingers for 2021.
Picnic is actually a very Parisian thing: Already years ago I was eating baguette and cheeses on some stairs under statues. Your places, however, are much cozier 🙂
All of these spots sound incredible and perfectly Parisian! How amazing would a picnic by the Seine be! I have only been to Paris once bout 10 years ago so I really need to go back one day soon 🙂
There is something about Paris that definitely calls for a picnic! Crusty baguette, soft cheese, some fresh fruit…and yes…I must source some gelato! I love that there are so many green spaces in the city and so many out enjoying them!