Paris in the summer is a wonderful city. With the urban heat it’s great for a quick mini break and nearly always guaranteed a bit of sun in the summer months. However, being hot and sweaty in the city isn’t always ideal – which is why we’ve put our heads together to come up with some of the best places for a picnic in Paris, where you can escape the concrete density in favour of some green oasis.
Paris has some great parks and open spaces that are crying out for baguettes and brie, champagne and chocolat. Head to a local supermarket which you’ll find dotted around the centre, and make your way to one of Paris’ best locations for a summer picnic.
Our favourites are:
Once Catherine de Medici’s private gardens in 1564, the Tuileries Gardens are now one of Paris’ most luscious areas of urban serenity. Sprawling between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, in the 1st arrondisement, the park used to be the go-to area for Parisians to meet up and socialise in the 19th and 20th centuries – just look at Manet’s Music in the Tuileries painting. Now, it’s not much changed to be honest; people still rendezvous for light-hearted fun, picnics and parties. Stroll along the wide promenades, decorated with marble fountains, and set up camp under a shady tree – it’s a great place for people watching, too.
Jardin du Luxembourg is Paris’ second largest park measuring an impressive 23 hectares and was built in 1611. The gardens were commissioned by Marie de’ Medici in homage to her native Florence’s Pitti Palace. After being handed down through the monarchy it’s got evidence of Paris’ opulent culture and history; with views onto Luxembourg Palace and the Pantheon, as well as a huge fountain-come-pool and perfect manicured gardens, it’s the perfect place to roll out a mat and sip on some chilled champagne.
Champ de Mars
If you want your picture-perfect park, this is it. The Champ de Mars stretches right up to the Eiffel Tower and is the best place for a photo opportunity; as they say ‘to get the t-shirt’. Dotted around this open space are various ice cream vans and pop up cafes, so grabbing a bite to eat is easy! Relax and recline and look onto one of Paris’s most iconic landmarks. Towards the other end of the park is École Militaire, well worth a visit if you want to walk off your lunch.
Canal Saint-Martin is a 4.5km long canal running down central Paris. Although not green and grassy, it’s a favourite spot for Parisians to take a baguette and some wine and sit in the sun on the banks of the canal. Overlook the flowing water and docks, and walk over the wrought iron bridges that span over the two sides. It’s a quaint experience to get a feel for true Parisian life – and definitely how to picnic like a local. Make sure you take some midge-repellent if you go around dusk, it can become quite ‘buzzing’ once the sun’s gone down…
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