Paris is a city made for picnics. No where else, that I know of, can the casual tourist find all the perfect ingredients–including wine, food and location–for a perfect picnic.
Do a little planning ahead of time and you’ll have a meal to remember. Just pack a few simple items–paper plates, some plastic cups, a couple of knives good enough to slice cheese or fruit. Napkins. A corkscrew, of course. And something to sit on. (I have a great blanket that’s flannel on one side and waterproof on the other. Probably came from LL Bean or someplace similar.)
Let’s start with wine–you can find it in any corner market. It’s cheaper than Diet Coke and, odds are, from grapes grown within a hundred miles or less. Sancerres, burgundies, bordeaux…just grab one and or two. Or even a bottle of champagne if you’re feeling particularly festive.
Now for the food. Paris is known for its markets. The one I’m most familiar with is near the Bastille on Sundays and Thursdays on Rue Richard Lenoir. It covers several blocks and has everything you need (at least it seems so to me) for a great picnic.
On our recent trip, here’s what I bought–keep in mind that I spent less than 30 euro and fed 6 people.
- three types of cheese
- two types of chaucuterie (sliced meat)
- a demi (half loaf) of pain du campagne (country bread)
- a nice thick slab of “terrine du poivre vert” –coarse pate made with green peppercorns
- white peaches
- a chanterais melon
- a mixture of olives (including some fabulous pickled peppers)
- tiny little fresh radishes that we dipped in sea salt
There might have been more, but that is what I remember.
As for the location–it was at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Now–all of you out there sneering that you would never be caught dead doing such a “touristy” thing…get over yourselves. It is perfection. Look around…and listen…most of your fellow picnic-ers are French.
And when the lights go on the tower starts sparkling, well–you know that you’re not in Kansas anymore…or in my case, not in Franklin.
So if you’re planning a trip to Paris, plan on a picnic. Not only will it be your cheapest meal, it will certainly be your most memorable.