If you are coming to Paris between May and September, you will probably succumb to the temptation of having lunch at the terrace of a café. French food, wine and sun. Nothing beats that, right? But we often forget that we can enjoy nearly the same thing for way cheaper. Here are our top 5 places for a picnic in Paris.
Edouard Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe (The luncheon on the grass)
Picnics are real time and money savers, and Paris is full of pretty scenery that are well worth lots of restaurants. As a local and a student, I have been experiencing about a hundred of these outdoor meals. Here are my Top 5 places for a picnic in Paris. Sick of the restaurant? Why not simply have a sandwich in a nice area? Here are the top 5 places for a picnic in Paris.
5.) Champ de Mars
If you are not really fond of touristy areas (and crowds in general), do not go there. And this is why the 24 ha of grass at the Eiffel Tower’s feet are only at the end of my Top 5 places for a picnic in Paris. Nevertheless, there will always remain a little bit of room for you to sit and enjoy the nice open view under the sun. I advise Le Champs de Mars to those who love lively places and Paris’s classics.
Metro: line 8, station Ecole militaire.
Want to see another Paris than the one of the postcards? Go to canal Saint Martin. The atmosphere there is really unique and authentic. On Sundays, the banks are closed to traffic and many Parisians have a walk or a bicycle ride along the canal surmounted by nice bridges and catwalks. It might be crowded in summer at noon, but mainly with locals. You can sit on the edge of the water and enjoy either shadow (under the trees) or sun, as you like!
Metro: lines 2, 5 and 7, station Stalingrad
3.) Les Arènes de Lutèce
Dating back to the first century, these remains of a roman amphitheater are ideal to have a picnic in Paris. You will be comfortably seated on the arenas surrounded with greeneries. And although you might not be witnessing any gladiator combat, on weekends, people usually come to play football or pétanque, a form of boules typical of southern France: the goal is to throw heavy metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet. Want to try this out? We have a special tour for that!
Opens till 9 pm in Summer
Access: 4 rue des Arênes. Metro: lines 7 and 10, station Jussieu
2.) Le square du Vert-Galant
Nestled at the tip of the Ile de la Cité, this charming garden would have been the champion of my Top 5 places for a picnic in Paris if it was not already one of the favorite spots of Parisian weed-smokers on evenings… But you can go for lunch! The view is gorgeous: in this peaceful haven cut from the lively center of the island by the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge of the city, you will feel like you are standing on the deck of a boat.
Opens till 8:30 pm in summer
Metro: line 7, station Pont Neuf
1.) Le jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur
Note this long name down before you forget it. This hidden garden is perfect if you want your picnic in Paris to be extra romantic. In the heart of the trendy Marais neighborhood, you enter a real French garden, with its well-trimmed groves, stone benches and rose arbors. There, even a bag of crisps can make your lunch glamorous.
Opens till 8:30 pm in summer
Access: 9, rue Grand Veneur. Metro: line 8, station Saint-Sébastien Froissart