A Paris Picnic

Sundays are sacred in Paris. Work is never discussed as this is time reserved for families, long relaxing brunches,  reading, quiet reflection, short naps and the art of just being.

 

Ladies in Parc Monceau

 

Since most Parisians live in small apartments, as the weather permits, many flee their cramped quarters to head out into the sunshine and their local public park.

Parc Monceau

 Notwithstanding the much grander parks in Paris, such as the Bois de Boulogne or the Champs-de-Mars in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, one of my favourites is Parc Monceau in the 8th arrondissement on the right bank.

 

The rotunda at the entrance of Parc Monceau

 

There is a lovely columned rotunda at the main entrance, and the park features more than 20 acres of towering trees, grass, gardens, boulevards, bridges over lily ponds, playgrounds and sculptures.

It is great place to get lost for an afternoon.

 

 

 

Parc Monceau

 

Le pique-nique  

If you don’t feel like making your own picnic fare, do as I do, and drop by the nearest boulangerie (bakery) and pick up something there. Most offer an array of mouth-watering sandwiches and salads freshly prepared and ready to go.

They’ll even pack it up for you in an attractive paper bag with handles.

(Add a fresh “croissant” or “pain au chocolat” as an additional treat!)

 

My picnic lunch ready to go!

 

Even on the busiest of Sundays, I have never had any trouble finding a bench to take over and spread out my picnic. Then I people watch, a great pastime in the park.

 

Salade Nicoise!

 

Parisians “do parks” as effortlessly as they do everything else. Where I am always so self-conscious out in public, (yes I admit this!), Parisians seem oblivious to others.

So comfortable in their own skins, they seem to able to have private moments without worrying about who’s watching.

I admire that.

 

Craving a little peace and quiet

 

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47 Comments

  1. Kelly on June 23, 2019 at 8:10 am

    My daughter and I love to do things like have a glass of wine or a coffee and people watch when we travel together. Our last trip to Paris included some other friends, and we got to see a lot of museums and tourist sites but the two of us were craving that Sunday in the park feeling! We had to rush through the Jardin des Tuileries on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to get to another attraction on the checklist. 😞 I think we’ve decided that, in the future, we will set aside some time to do our own thing if we are traveling with others.

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:36 pm

      Kelly — I am glad you mentioned the Jardin de Tuileries. I love it — especially the carousel there!
      And yes, it takes a few trips to Paris to slow down and just drink in the ambience. That is the real Paris.
      Thank you for your comment. (One out of 3 to qualify for the Chanel Perfume Draw! Thank you)

  2. Eileen on June 23, 2019 at 8:44 am

    The Jardin du Luxembourg is my favorite park in Paris. You can forget you’re in a city for a few hours. There is tennis, boules, a children’s area, music from a small bandstand, and a wonderful wide fountain that kids can push boats around on. I’m always amazed that there are so many chairs to sit on, so pleasant. The parks in Paris have a large amount of chairs to use. I wish all parks had this .😊

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:33 pm

      Definitely the Luxembourg Gardens is one of the first places I head
      to take a break from sightseeing or doing interviews for my blog. I love
      just taking a coffee (although French people don’t do this) and sitting in
      one of the chairs around the large shallow pool. At any time of year,
      it is a feast for the eyes there! Love hearing from you Eileen. (You now have one Comment out of Three
      to qualify for the Chanel Perfume Draw!)

  3. Luci Rizzo on June 23, 2019 at 8:52 am

    I loved that too about Paris. It seems u cant ever Go wrong w the food. A beautifully crafted sandwich and a pastry and some wine and set for the afternoon. People watching is a very rich human experience and what u learn while watching is invaluable. Love that as a pastime. .

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      Yes, the food makes the picnic — and even just bringing a baguette, some brie cheese, sausage
      and wine — well who can go wrong? Thanks for you comment Luci!

  4. Shardie Stevenson on June 23, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Love our times in Paris together and a particular favourite is le pique ! Such a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours! ❤️

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:28 pm

      We have such a good time together. And thank you for taking the picture of me
      having our pique-unique!

  5. Erica Prinn-McCarthy on June 23, 2019 at 9:30 am

    Even in the December we found the parks lovely to walk through. Maybe not picnic weather but certainly a Croque Monsieur in hand or a baguette was possible. One of my favourite parks is Jardin du Luxembourg with its fantastic statues of Queens and prominent women!

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:27 pm

      I agree Erica — the parks are great to walk in even in the winter. A nice cafe in one hand and
      a Croque Monsieur in the other.

  6. Twink on June 23, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Bois de Boulogne is also a lovely park. You can row around the lake or walk along the paths bordered with majestic trees..
    Paris knows how to do it.

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:25 pm

      Paris does know how to do it! The Bois de Boulogne is on my list.
      Thanks as always for commenting. Love hearing from you — Diana

  7. lagatta à Montréal on June 23, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Yves Duteil wrote a song about Parc Monceau. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipgGEl0mXCE subtitles (in French) might be beneficial to language learners.

    My favourite Paris park is Buttes Chaumont in the northeast, though. Probably just because I have friends nearby and many pleasant memories of picnics.

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:24 pm

      Lagatta–you always have such interesting posts. Buttes Chaumont, I have to try it.. and also listen to the song.

      (One of three comments to qualify for the Chanel Perfume Draw)

  8. Dorothy Berry on June 23, 2019 at 10:12 am

    As North Americans we “live to work”… it would seem that Europeans “work to live”. I have noticed this even closer to home with the French population in Quebec. I’m sure we would be much much Happier, Healthier and Relaxed if we took more time for Family and Friends. Living in the moment. Less time for work and the “screen”.
    As a child my Mom would pack a picnic lunch. Off our Family would go on Sundays, in the nicer weather, sometimes to the beach, sometimes to a Lookout, and sometimes on the side of a less traveled road. Hours together, eating, playing and napping. Simple Memories I truly value at this point in my life. My husband and our Little Roxy will sometimes go on a drive and enjoy lunch in the outdoors. We even visit “The Chipper”, at Sunset Point, once or twice throughout the Summer. Regardless, the place and food are irrelevant. We value the time well spent.

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:22 pm

      How right you are! We could learn something from the Europeans about the art of being. Do you know
      no one ever asks me what I do for a living in Paris? Not initially anyway. It’s nice.

      And I do love picnics. I have had them all over the world but my favourite place is in France. I once
      has a lunch in the country with a big French family .. we started to eat at noon and finished at 5 pm.
      Memorable I can tell you!

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:22 pm

      PS Dorothy.. you are now qualified for the Perfume Draw.. three comments well done!

  9. Margaret Ann on June 23, 2019 at 11:54 am

    We live a very similar life here in Vancouver BC., now that we are in a condo. Our door takes us right out onto the TransCanada Trail. Wonderful walking, cafes, and picnics by the sea! But, is it Paris? Not quite! Enjoy Diana!

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:18 pm

      Well that sounds pretty wonderful Margaret Ann — It makes me want to make a trip out to see you sometime!
      Thanks for the comment.

  10. Ann Bradt on June 23, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    I too have enjoyed many wonderful hours enjoying the parks in Paris. Le Jardin du Luxembourg is one of our favourites which we enjoyed over the years. The play area, the beautiful trees and of course the amazing benches that offer the opportunity to sit and enjoy the day!

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Ann–so great to hear from you. I do love the Luxembourg Gardens — especially sitting around the shallow
      pool — there is a seat for a weary traveller. Thanks for the comment. (One of Three Comments towards the Perfume Draw!)

  11. Doris Squires on June 23, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    My favorite is Bois de Boulogne. I was there many years ago . It was so beautiful. We were having a picnic and as people strolled by they said “Bon Appetit!” How polite!

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:13 pm

      Hi Doris,
      I have yet to have a picnic in the Bois de Boulogne — you have inspired me.
      And congrats, you are now fully qualified (Three comments, thank you) for the Chanel Perfume draw on July 7th!
      Good luck. Diana

  12. Juliette Wood on June 23, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you for highlighting the Parc Monceau; I just reviewed your blog about apartment stays in the Monceau neighbourhood and will definitely look into that area for more residential settings and a more Parisian experience.

    • Diana Bishop on June 23, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      Hi Juliette, Yes, there are no real landmarks in this area of Paris but it is quiet residential area with lovely
      5 storey apartment buildings and elegant cafes. Thanks of the comment! (2 of 3 to qualify for the Perfume draw!)

  13. Heli Vogrin on June 23, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    I loved walking thru the Luxenbourg Gardens when I stayed in StGermaine.
    And I have to say seeing your picnic bags that in Paris the bags are always very elegant! Makes the takeout a special treat!

  14. Cathy on June 23, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Sounds great. Not sure when we will get there, considering this fall.
    I too am a believer that Sunday’s should be relaxing and for family time. we have even known to pack an impromptu picnic and head to the lakeside parks but I am sure it would not compare to a Paris.

  15. Lea Greenwood on June 23, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Oh the Bois de Boulogne is a lovely place by day, yet has it’s own mystic by night. I drove through the Bois one night only to be surprised by individuals of the night! Lol, it was busy In there. PARC Monceau was where I took my charge after school for a wee play before going home to do homework. My Parc of choice was on the grounds of the Rodin Museum. Oh I love Paris. Off to Estonia next week.

    • Diana Bishop on June 24, 2019 at 10:45 am

      I am inspired to go there day or night now — the Bois de Boulogne is on my list. Thanks Lea. I love hearing from you. Diana

  16. Renee welling on June 23, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    I must return to Paris!! It’s been years since we’ve been there. Reading your blogs inspires me to see all the parks.
    I do remember Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. We spent practically an entire day there. It was
    glorious. So beautiful! One would never believe that this park once had a grisly past. It was the gallows.
    People that were executed were displayed there . It was also a dump site for animal carcasses and sewage.

    • Diana Bishop on June 24, 2019 at 10:44 am

      I hope you do … when I am in Paris too!

  17. Cynthia Coutu on June 24, 2019 at 4:22 am

    One of the Canadian things I don’t miss are the wretched mosquitoes when eating outside. I suppose you have to contend with the pigeons in Paris, but they are much easier to deal with. I love picnics in Paris and I plan on improvising Delectabulles champagne picnics on Sundays in various parks this summer. I will post details here: https://www.delectabulles.com/en/calendar

    • Diana Bishop on June 24, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Good point Cynthia — no misquitoes on Paris picnics…nor ants for that matter. I remember a picnic with a nice fellow that we had in a park in Canada and the ants…ruined the picnic.
      I look forward to hearing about your Paris picnics. Please share them with us! Diana

  18. Grace on June 24, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Here in North America’ we are all consumed with working and work, never taking time (today) to enjoy the day 😔.

    • Diana Bishop on June 24, 2019 at 11:44 am

      You are so right Grace. Live to work instead work to live — thanks for your comment. With 2 more comments on any of my blogs, you qualify for the Perfume Giveaway! Diana

  19. Tamara on June 25, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Picnicking, in Paris. A simplicity we in North America have lost. It’s not easy for us to do anymore. Spend the day with friends or loved ones in a park with peacefulness and a croissant. We’ve lost this peaceful joy being caught up in our work world and the demands of North American life. When we have our careers to think about spending time with family is not reveered as natural or even a top priority. We do not have this space anymore. To just be. If lucky if with a job to pay for bills house and home necessities, we may be given two weeks vacation. And we had better make proper use of that window of family time or friendship time. Going to a park to picnic and not speak a word about work or demands, thats class!!! So sad we have lost this in our culture. We work to live but have list the innate ability to master this rekaxation and peacefulness. I catch myself talking about work at parks all the time or when out with friends gabbing on about silly ol work. At home the peak hours together spent filling in my family of my work news. Stressful. Paris does know how to do it. We have lost this form of just being. Always thinking about the next big task. The next job, the next bill, the next oil change the next mortgage payment. Making time for the gym…time for dinner is even rushed or a burden…setting alarms even on weekends to finish any work that has not been Accomplished. But we did this to ourselves, I’m sure out of fear…it could only be that!!!. Then the weekend is through folding clothes and washing the floors; feeling so well accomplished. Maybe to get in an our time to have a quick bath or shower. Jetting off to kids activities so they have the ability to run And play. When in reality going to a park to have a picnic. There’s so much room to run.

    • Diana Bishop on June 25, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      You are so right Tamara — too many other things to do!

  20. Tamara on June 25, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Oh Diana forgot to mention. One what a beautiful photo of you picnicking. Stunning. Also Diana you have inspired me in so may ways I wanted to say thank you!!!!

    • Diana Bishop on June 25, 2019 at 7:18 pm

      Oh Tamara, thank you. Really appreciate it. Diana

  21. Barb Guilfoyle on June 25, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Diana, I get to see beautiful Paris thru your eyes and stories. Thank you so much!!!

    • Diana Bishop on June 25, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      Barb,
      I am so thrilled that you are taking the time to read my blog. So appreciate your support. (Comment 1 of 3 to qualify for the Chanel Perfume Draw!)

  22. Louie G on June 27, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    As a teenager, my sister and I spent many a summer in Paris at my aunt and uncles. I’d forgotten about the Parc Monceau until I read your post today. What a lovely memory to reconnect with — just like a classic perfume, it’s sights and sounds and especially smells, linger in my mind.

  23. Timmithea Leeds on June 28, 2019 at 11:52 am

    For my 50th birthday present my mom bought me two tickets to Paris. I had never been but my husband had back when he was a college student in the late 1980’s. He was anxious to see the Notre Dame Cathedral again. He has a comical picture of him looking out over Paris posing with the one of the Gargoyles! I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to see besides the iconic Eiffel Tower and anything related to French fashion! To my suprise, one of my favorite places was the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was a block from where we were stayed. I particularly fell in love with the Medici Fountain. I thought it would make a lovely place to get married or have a fashion show! My husband and I went back the Jardin du Luxembourg a few times. It’s a safe place to take a jog in the morning, or a visit to the museum and a wonderful tea/coffee house with pastries that cancelled out any exercise we did from jogging that morning!

    • Diana Bishop on June 28, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      Timmithea — I can so relate. The Luxembourg Gardens is my go-to park during the week.
      I sometimes take my lunch and eat in the shadow of the Medici Fountain. Every time I go
      I find something new to look at and absorb. And yes, exercise well. I like the fact that in
      France mass exertion is frowned upon. I can often walk do 10 to 12 kilometres so I figure I
      can then eat whatever I want!

      • Timmithea Leeds on June 28, 2019 at 6:05 pm

        I love that everything is so compact, but then there are the wide open, beautiful and historic parks. A wonderful feeling of community. I’m jealous! And, to eat what one wants! You begin to understand why French women are so trim after being there a week. Eat a croissant for me! Bon appetit!

  24. Martha on July 3, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    HI Diana,

    I found your blog today by way of an article you had written on The Good Life France. So happy to have discovered you and your delightful blog! My first picnic in Paris took place years ago as part of a culinary tour I was taking. Sharing a simple meal of bread, cheese, fruit and wine, in view of the Eiffel Tower left a lasting impression. As an American who spends far too much time in front of her computer screen I enjoyed reading this reminder to keep my priorities straight.

    • Diana Bishop on July 3, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      Martha,
      Thank you so much for finding and reading my blog! I am thrilled that you have such memories of your picnic in Paris, and thank you for sharing them. I hope you will continue to do so. I do appreciate it. Diana

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