I’ve fallen in love with so many of the amazing picnic parks in Paris! It’s impossible to decide on just one favorite, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorite 10 picnic-worthy parks in Paris!
Picnicking aka the “pique-nique” in Paris is the national sport of Parisians during the summer. Upon arriving to the city, I’ve quickly adopted this popular Parisian pastime. Nearly every week—sometimes several times a weekend—my boyfriend and I could be found with a bottle of wine in hand lounging in the grass and people watching.
Thanks to the plethora of parks in Paris, we had many choices to set up a picnic and perfect our picnicking game. Whether you’re in Paris for an extended amount of time like us or just passing through on a trip, a picnic in the park is the perfect way to experience Paris and an authentic version of French life.
The key to picnicking in Paris is finding some shade, slowing down, and bringing enough wine. If you can believe it, I’ve picnicked at all these parks and it’s quite hard to play favorites!
The Best Parks to Picnic in Paris
Manicured Gardens of Paris
Jardin des Tuileries (1st arr.) This centrally located park filled with statues and museums is a destination in itself. Sure, hordes of tourists scramble around visiting the Louvre and trekking out to the Eiffel Tower, but plenty of locals frequent the park for a picnic. People regularly picnic in the shade under the trees, on park benches and at chairs around the fountain. In addition, the city of Paris also sets up an amusement park in the summer (think of the cute Ferris wheel pictures!!). Pair your picnic visit with free museum day on first Sunday of the month for a wonderful afternoon.
Jardin du Luxembourg (6th arr.). The park where Ernest Hemingway strolled through is famous for many reasons. Immaculately grooved with statues, flowers, fountains, the Luxembourg Palace, and gravel walking paths, the green space is the epitome of Paris garden design. It’s fairly shady and people often grab chairs and picnic around the fountains or in the grass. I regularly go for runs here with the lululemon run club on Wednesday nights.
Canals of Paris
Berges de Seine Rive Droite (4th arr.) While not a park in the most traditional sense of the word, the north bank of the Seine is a picnic hotspot. Along the river from Pont de Sully to Pont d’Arcole, bars pop with live music and decent drink options. (FYI if you buy your beer from a bar make sure you return the cup and get your €1 back). During the summer, the city of Paris actually creates a “Paris Plage” aka Paris beach. For several months they set out lawn chairs, beach umbrellas and even sand volleyball courts for the public to use. After work, the river banks are packed. The Seine is a marvelous place to watch the sunset against the silhouette of Notre Dame and iconic bridges.
Jardin Tino-Rossi (5th arr.) This park is part Musée de Sculpture en Plein Air (outdoor sculpture garden) and part local entertainment. Overlooking the Seine, the park has mini amphitheater’s where people set up speakers and play different types of music. Head down on a Friday afternoon to see the resurgence of swing dancing—complete with intense dancers doing flips. As the night goes on other sets of stairs amp up their speakers and DJ different types of music. It reminded me a lot of the energy of Mauer Park in Berlin. A few guys selling beer and wine out of buckets should you need a refill as well.
Place des Vosges (4th arr.) This green spot was once home to noble families. Parisians are obsessed with this small green patch of peace filled with square cut trees, benches and fountains. Surrounded by store arcades dating back to the 17th century, Place Vosges is a lovely spot to read and enjoy a picnic in Le Marais. Expat blogger Charlie Ann James recently threw a picnic party there and has lots of tips on where to source local Parisian eats.
Champ de Mars (7th arr.) By far the most touristy of all the parks in Paris the Champs de Mars is still an enjoyable visit. Bring a blanket and spread out on the lawn of Eiffel Tower. Perks of this park are, of course, the views, but also the incredible tourist people watching. Not to mention, you can negotiate with the men carrying around wine and beer in buckets and get a decent bottle should you want a wine refill. Our rule of thumb is to not spend more than €6-7 on a bottle of wine in the grocery store, so paying €10 for delivery in the park isn’t that bad of a deal!
Parc Monceau (8th arr.) We visited this park after a leisurely brunch at MOM. In a completely residential part of town, you’ll see how normal Parisians like to spend a Saturday. The walking path is a kilometer (if you’re prone to jogging) and overall it’s very chill. There’s a cute merry-merry-go-round and sometimes swans in the lake.
Large Parks and Forrests
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (19th arr.) This whimsical park is far different than any other park in Paris. It’s super hilly with an island topped with a replica Roman temple. I like to climb the hills and find a nice sunny secluded spot with great views. From the top of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont you have incredible Parisian skyline views and can even see Sacre Coeur and the Eiffel Tower. If you don’t want to bring your own booze, you can grab a drink at the popular Rosa Bonheur. The park is full of surprises. If you’re lucky you might even stumble upon the park’s waterfall!
Bois de Vincennes (12th arr.) This massive park on the eastern edge of Paris offers something for everyone. It has many miles of walking and bike trails as well as a zoo, 18-hole mini golf, and big lake with multiple islands to explore. You can even visit the Chateau de Vincennes–a medieval castle! If you’re feeling adventurous you can rent boats and picnic on the boat. Our preference is to find a secluded spot on one of the islands and set up a blanket on the shoreline to watch the paddlers pass.
Bois du Boulogne (16th arr.) Despite being on the far western edge of the city, we went multiple weekends in a row to explore different parts. Our first time, we walked around the lakes and picnicked near the water. The second time, we rented boats at the north lake and picnicked in our boat. Boat rental is open most days from 10am – 6pm, but you should go early to avoid a line or wait on weekends. Bring an ID or €50 with you as a deposit on the boat. We happily spent 2 hours out on the water enjoying the sun. Nearby you can grab a drink on the island at Chalet des Iles or make a visit to the Foundation Louis Vuitton (my favorite museum in Paris!!). However, stay clear of the park after dark though because it’s known to get seedy with prostitution.
Pingback: 8 Fun and Romantic Date Ideas in Paris - Anastasia Clare Hansen