By Claudia Gazel
The slightest whiff of spring, and Paris' 2 million residents take to its ample gardens for outdoor fare. But what makes for a good picnic? From choosing the location to the right provisions, let art de vivre be your guide.
Choosing the perfect place
Jardin du Luxembourg
With fountains, wonderful statues and the French Senate, the Jardin du Luxembourg has perfect lawns dedicated exclusively to picnics. Place André Honnorat - 75006, senat.fr/visit/jardin/
Promenade Plantée and Jardin de Reuilly
Promenade Plantée is a suspended wooded walkway built where an old railway used to be. About 4.5 km long, it crosses through the 12th arrondissement. A delicious option for a stroll that could lead to a picnic on the vast lawns of Jardin de Reuilly. Access by stairs on Avenue Daumesnil - 75012
Bois de Vincennes
At nearly 10 square kilometers, the grove is ideal for any pique-niquer around its four lakes. Avenue Dausmenil and Boulevard de la Guyane - 75012
The park has special gardens (bonsai gardens, butterflies gardens, etc.) and thousands of plant species. On certain days you may even get lucky and run into a show with live music. Esplanade du Château de Vincennes/Route de la Pyramide - 75012, parcfloraldeparis.com
The necessary accoutrements
You'll need a large picnic blanket, a basket, a cooler for beverages and cold items, cups, forks, napkins, plates and, of course, a corkscrew. Here's where to find them.
Specializing in houseware, this boutique also carries utensils made exclusively for picnics. 8 rue du Pont Neuf - 75001, habitat.fr
Here you will find complete picnic sets that are very refined, with wicker baskets, picnic towels, cutlery, glasses and plates. 95, rue de Rennes - 75006, genevievelethu.fr
This Dutch store is great for disposable picnic needs like paper towels or plastic cutlery. All colorful and fun. 120, rue Rambuteau - 75001, hema.fr
The perfect provisions
The menu should be practical: cheeses, cold cuts, breads, fruit, juices, wine and water. For the sweet tooth, add pastries. Quality is essential here. This is not a place to cheap out!
Fromagerie Laurent du Bois
Every cheese you could imagine you can find here, with unquestionable quality. 47, boulevard Saint Germain - 75005, fromageslaurentdubois.fr
Eric Kayser Boulangerie
Eric Kayser is big business in Paris. The baguette is a must and the chouquettes, similar to a sweet puff pastry, are simply mouthwatering. 8, rue Monge - 75005, maison-kayser.com
Pascal Gosnet Boucherie
Choose your favorite charcuterie in this amazing boucherie, a place that has the most personable service. Try the rosette, a type of French salami. 119, rue Mouffetard - 75005