With prime picnic weather right around the corner, discover the ins and outs of picnicking like a true Parisian. Le “pique-nique,” originates from the french verb “to peck/ to pick” coupled with the noun “nique” meaning “a small amount or nothing whatsoever.” Dating back to the 18th century, picnicking became a popular “pastime” amongst French aristocrats. Today picnicking has become a beloved leisurely activity for all, who wish to gather, eat, and enjoy the summer in the beautiful parks across Paris. From the Champ des Mars to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, you have plenty of options to choose from. This article will inform you on the best places to picnic in Paris as well as a few tips on how to picnic like a Parisian.

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How to picnic in Paris

Before we look at some of the best places to picnic in Paris, let’s learn about how to picnic like a Parisian!

What to bring on a picnic? (Paris picnic foods)

In order to have a true Parisian experience, you must hit the neighborhood boulangerie (for a fresh baguette or sandwich), the fromagerie (for a variety of French cheeses) and maybe even a fruit market (for some freshly pressed orange juice). Of course, don’t forget a blanket to lay on and a reusable bag for the various snacks! We also recommend bringing one empty bag specifically for trash as the nearest trashcan may be a bit of a walk from your chosen picnicking spot.

Can you drink in Paris parks? (Drinking alcohol in public)

While the rules may vary from one arrondissement to the next, official regulations concerning the public consumption of alcohol state that is not permitted unless sold by an authorized establishment in the park.  However, you will see that no one abides by this rule and as long as you are respectful and clean up after yourself, enjoying a bottle of wine or champagne generally should not pose a problem when picnicking in Parisian parks. For more information on the legality of drinking in public in France, check out the French government’s official website on the topic, here.

Where can you sit in Paris parks?

While some areas of parks and gardens may be restricted to picnickers, look for signs that say “Pelouse ouvert” meaning you are welcomed to lounge on the grass. Of course, you will probably have a good idea of acceptable places to sit, just by taking a look around.

General rules – Picnic etiquette

Overall, you just need to be aware and respectful of other park goers and the people that live near the park. As long as you are generally respectful you should not have any problems while picnicking, but here are some general rules to be aware of as well:

Keep your music at a reasonable volume

As a general rule, keep your music at a respectable volume and no one should have a problem with it. Some parks may have banned music out of respect for the neighbors of the park, so be aware and check online if you are not sure of the regulations of your chosen park.

No swimming in lakes/ponds

Swimming is forbidden in all park lakes or ponds in Paris, as well as the in the Seine. However, if you would like to wear a bathing suit to tan in, you are welcome to do so.

Do not put cigarettes out in the park grounds

Like drinking, smoking cigarettes is technically banned in all public parks and gardens. However, you will notice that this rule is rarely enforced. As long as you do not smoke near children and be sure to clean up after yourself (disposing of all cigarette butts in trashcans) you should not run into a problem. To learn more about the banning of smoking in public places, check out what the French government has to say on the topic, here.

Camping in the parks is not permitted

Camping in public parks is strictly forbidden in Paris. If you’re looking for a spot to go camping near Paris, consider visiting Fontainebleau. You can learn more about camping in Fontainebleau here.

Barbecues and other fires are not permitted in any parks or gardens in Paris

A new regulation is that barbecues and other fires are strictly forbidden in Paris parks. Barbecues are still permitted in private residences, following regulations.

Best places to picnic in Paris

While the Champs de Mars is a nice spot for visitors looking for a great view of the Eiffel Tower, those wanting a more local experience may want to explore some lesser known gems around Paris.

picnic parc buttes chaumont

Parc Buttes-Chaumont

Tucked away on a hill in the 19th arrondissement, Parc Buttes-Chaumont is a lovely place to escape the crowds and enjoy a nice view of the city. Created in 1867, the 25 hectare park is seen as a testament to the lasting impact of Napleon III. Unlike the majority of parks in Paris, Buttes-Chaumont boasts a vast area of green space- perfect for those wishing to relax in nature.  With a variety of indigenous and exotic tree species, there is plenty of shade to picnic in. The park is also great for kids, with a playground, sandboxes, and a baby changing station available for public use. The park is also animal friendly, and even has a space for dogs as well as potable water sources for all.

Address: Place Armand-Carrel, Paris 19e

Hours: 7am – 10pm


  • Buttes Chaumont – Line 7 bis
  • Laumiére – Line 5
  • Botzaris – Line 7 bis

Public toilets: Yes

Visit the official website for Parc Buttes-Chaumont by clicking here.

Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges

Across the river, and into the 4th arrondissement, you will find Place des Vosges. Otherwise known as Square Louis-XIII, Place des Vosges is a picturesque square, only 140m by 127m. Here, you can admire the surrounding historic buildings in which, famous individuals such as author, Victor Hugo used to live in. With plenty of grassy space and trees for shade, Place des Vosges makes a great spot to picnic in Paris.

Address: 30, place des Vosges, Paris 4e

Hours: 8am – 9:30 pm Monday – Friday; 9am – 9:30pm Saturday – Sunday


  • Chemin vert – Line 8
  • Bastille – Lines 1, 5, 8

Public toilets: Yes

Visit the official website for Place des Vosges by clicking here.

Parc Monceau

In the 8th arrondissement,  Parc Monceau greets you with golden wrought iron gates. It is no wonder that this park is often acknowledged for its elegance. Lush vegetation and unique sculptures, be sure not to miss the iconic Corinthian columns that surround the lake! With plenty of water features and a carousel, Parc Monceau is another a great place to picnic with your kids in Paris this summer.

Address: 35 bd de Courcelles, Paris 8e

Hours: 7am – 10pm


  • Monceau – Line 2
  • Malesherbes – Line 3

Public toilets: Yes

Visit the official website for Parc Monceau by clicking here.

Picnic in parc Montsouris, Paris

Parc Montsouris

Situated next to the Cité Universitaire, Parc Montsouris is a favorite of many students who live in the neighborhood. Here you will find a park filled with trees, endless grassy lawns to lay on, and many antique bronze (or stone) statues to admire. Parc Montsouris is also great for children, who can enjoy the park’s pony rides and Guignol’s shows (puppet shows).

Address: 2 Rue Gazan, Paris 14e

Hours: 7:00 am – 9:30 pm


  • Glacière – Line 6
  • Alésia – Line 4
  • La Gare de Cité Universitaire – line RER B

Public toilets: Yes

Visit the official website for Parc Montsouris by clicking here.

Jardin Catherine Labouré

Not far from the infamous Bon Marché and La Grande Épicerie (where you can pick up some delicious picnic food) , take a break from shopping and relax in the quaint Jardin Catherine Labouré. Formally a vegetable garden, this spot is filled with fruit trees, a pergola and even a playground – making it a perfect picnic spot for families with young kids. One thing to note is that it is a dog free park.

Address: 29 rue de Babylone, Paris 7e

Hours: 8:00am – 9:30pm


  • Sèvres-Babylone: lines 10 and 12

Public toilets: Yes

Visit the official website for Jardin Catherine Labouré by clicking here.

Along the Seine

Perhaps the most common place to find Parisians picnicking, the banks of the Seine make a great spot to enjoy a summer day. Though you can access the banks of the Seine all along the river, we recommend picnicking near these areas:

Picnic on the seine , Paris

île de la Cité – Square du Vert Galant

The Seine has two small islands between the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th arrondissements, one of which is the famous île de la Cité. Known best for being the home of the Notre Dame and the Sainte-Chapelle, Île de la Cité is also a great picnic spot. With the most popular spot being on the eastern tip of the island (Square du Vert Galant), Île de la Cité has plenty of great places to dangle your feet over the water of the Seine and enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors of the city.

Address: 15 Pl. du Pont Neuf, Paris 1e

Hours: Open 24/7


  • Pont Neuf: line 7
  • Louvre – Rivoli: line 1

Public toilets: No

Visit the official website for Square du Vet Galant by clicking here.

canal saint-martin

Canal Saint-Martin – Square des Recollets

Though not technically part of the Seine, Canal Saint-Martin connects the river Ourcq to the Seine. The canal begins in the neighborhood of Stalingrad, and winds through the 19th, 10th, 4th and 11th arrondissements, and finally joins the Seine at Bastille. With wide river banks made for pedestrians and interesting neighborhoods to explore, Canal Saint-Martin has become a go to for Parisians looking to picnic along the water. While there are many great places along the canal to picnic, we recommend in particular checking out Square des Recollets in the 10th arrondissement.

Address: 86, quai de Valmy, Paris 10e

Hours: Open 24/7


  • Jacques Bonsergent: line 5

Public toilets: No

Visit the official website for Square des Recollets by clicking here.

Quai Saint Bernard – Jardin Tino Rossi

Known for it’s impromptu dance classes – open to all in the summer – Quai Saint Bernard is a great place to enjoy a picnic along the Seine. The Quai is also home to Jardin Tino Rossi, so you can enjoy a bit of greenery while you dine along the Seine.

Address: 2, quai Saint-Bernard, Paris 5e

Hours: Open 24/7


  • Sully – Morland: line 7
  • Jussieu: line 7 & 10

Public toilets: Yes

Visit the official website for Jardin Tino Rossi by clicking here.

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