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Picnics in Paris (and bistro recommendations)

Picnics in Paris (and bistro recommendations)

Old Sep 9th, 2023, 12:44 AM
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Picnics in Paris (and bistro recommendations)

Hi, my daughter and I are scheduled to arrive in Paris next week for a first time visit and the forecasts are for glorious weather. 24 degrees and sunny (knock wood).

We're all in for trying as many sensibly priced French dishes as we can manage in our stay, focusing mostly on bistro dining with a bit of cozy local atmosphere and hopefully nice quality food. So any recos there would be nice too. The only one I have down is probably touristy but it's in my favourite Renoir painting, lol

But we thought we'd also save some on lunches and do a couple of picnics. Maybe along the Seine or a peaceful park bench a view somewhere. We could use some ideas of good takeaway places that are an easy stroll from the perfect picnic spot!
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 06:51 AM
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Since we tend to eat ethnic food in Paris since we spend most of our time now out in the country and so are always craving Thai or Indian food when we come to Paris, I am not very current on good restaurant suggestions these days. But you might want to check out this food site which has some pretty good info:

https://www.hungryonion.org/tag/paris

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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 09:41 AM
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The banks of the Seine are rarely very comfortable for picnics, even though they are popular. If you would really like to stretch out on the grass like in a Renoir painting, you will need to go to one of the big parks -- Buttes Chaumont, Montsouris, Parc de la Villette, Parc Andrť CitroŽn, Parc Martin Luther King come to mind, or else the Bois de Vincennes or the Bois de Boulogne.

I remain aghast at the number of people who think of picnics as sitting on a bench eating a sandwich.
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 10:33 AM
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Buttes Chaumont---it's not central (on the Seine), but I think closer than the others just above
We enjoyed it VERY much; was nice seeing Parisian families enjoying the park in their own neighborhood
Rolling hills, cliffs, ponds, right in the middle of Paris............maybe 30 minutes from the Seine at most

Jardin du Luxembourge might be another option

Or that tiny park at the tip of Isle St Louis or Isle de Cite
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 01:43 PM
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You are NOT allowed to go on the grass at Jardin du Luxembourg.
But it sounds like the OP is thinking just about eating on a park bench with takeout as a picnic, so that would work. In fact, any park would work that way pretty much.

Takeout food isn't priced cheaper than if you eat it in the restaurant, seems to me. I guess if you just want a sandwich, which isn't restaurant food (except at McDo etc), that would work. But if the goal is to save money, I think finding a restaurant with a good prix fixe menu at lunch could work just as well and maybe provide a more balanced meal.

At least Vert Galant park on the island is near the Seine but I don't know any great places to buy takeout near there. There aren't any sandwich shops on that island that I know of. I think Pret a Manger sandwiches are horrible, Pomme de Pain are better.
This is not what it usually looks like, given lots of people are in it usually.
https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museu...du-Vert-Galant
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 03:08 PM
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I would get take-out from Le Grand Epicerie which is adjoining to Le Bon Marche department store on Rue de Sevres in the 7th. There are several less pricey than that, but hey, when in Paris..... The department store is to die for as well.

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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 03:31 PM
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There was a bar set up in Paris. Here's what I wrote...was it in the Tuileries??

"We decide to go to Decorative Arts Museum (nearby and not yet visited) and spend about 2 hours looking at the weird and the huge in furniture over several hundred years. Pretty neat place actually. Outside it has become sunny and high 70s and there is a nice bar in the U-shaped area in Louvre so we plop ourselves down. Many French families playing on the Tuileries area. We later realize we hadnít checked-in. We didnít understand what everyone was saying and why they were pointing. They didnít make us leave because there was no line. Had coffee, water and beer. We had read that you should just ask for tap water. Itís free and safe. What we werenít thinking was that many of the outside cafťs werenít hooked up to water. We often waited and waited for water not understanding the problem we were causing for the busy waiters who didnít have enough English to Ďsplain the sitchiation!"

Wish I'd been more specific about us shaped area. kerouac, was it Tuileries?



Last edited by TDudette; Sep 9th, 2023 at 03:34 PM.
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 03:38 PM
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My favorite bistro is one that I just stumbled on in 2004 the afternoon of our arrival in Paris. When we were seated we heard a lot of familiar accents and there were several others from our plane from Atlanta. Later I learned that it was a favorite of Fodorites - including ira. There have been Fodorite GTGs there. It's "nothing special" but absolutely perfect IMO. I'm "home" when I return and am sitting there - inside or at the sidewalk tables.
Le Bonaparte
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Caf%C...81770911954539
https://culturetravel.com/le-bonaparte/

One of my favorite memories was sitting on a bench at the Eiffel Tower on Christmas Day. I ate lunch elsewhere but I would be happy taking a sandwich or other takeout there to enjoy people watching and a lunch on the bench. I just don't know the status of benches since they've changed the area under the ET so much. It probably would not be the same.

In general, I'd scout out a nearby park wherever you are staying for possible locations and then picking up something to go on a following day. There's a little park near Notre Dame that is lovely. I'll look at photos to see if they have benches. I don't remember.
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 03:57 PM
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Benches - at the ET and near Notre Dame

Christmas Day at the base of the ET. Nandina was growing nearby, which was perfect. It reminded me of my beloved grandmother.

"The Square Renť Viviani offers one of the best views of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in all of Paris."

Wiki description -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_Ren%C3%A9-Viviani
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 04:05 PM
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View from the church

What I often order

"Nothing special" but absolutely perfect (IMO)

My favorite place with my favorite view. Les Deux Magots is 110 m away and Cafe de Flore is around the corner, but Le Bonaparte is still my favorite.
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 04:08 PM
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More, because I love it so...
Early morning in the rain -

A peek in the window

Arranging the chairs

…glise de Saint-Germain-des-Prťs (I love the chapel more than the sanctuary, but I do love the gold stars...)

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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 04:46 PM
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Yo CC,
I second/third Christina's clarification of Tomboy's suggestion: Vert-Gallant is an excellent place to relax. Added value: nearby Place Dauphin. The latter has great cafes in a wonderful setting, but not so much picnicking locales itself.
Dunno whether the smallish garden next to the Hotel de Ville/City hall would be suitable for picnics. Its attached to the actual grounds and is called 'Jardin des Combattants de la Nueve'. If memory serves, that freebie was dedicated to the Spanish who aided maquis in liberating Paris. Maybe check first about food consumption being allowed there.

Does anyone know about the Place des Vosges picnic policy?
I am done. the end

PS
CC, as per your request, I have arranged for a meet n' greet with the ex-members of Skyhooks at the Bataclan on the morning of your arrival. The only time slot left at the discount rate was 6:45 am. You will be responsible for the tip. Hope you don't mind.
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 05:37 PM
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Get thee to Rue Montorgueil, my favorite shopping street lined with all types of food shops and eateries, including Stohrer, the oldest patisserie in Paris in the same location since 1730 and originator of a potent baba rhum. Stohrer can be a bit pricey but a great special treat. Rue Montorgueil is the same as in the Monet painting.
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 06:36 PM
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Thank you all for the suggestions and comments!

I hadn't really put a lot of thought into the word "benches", to be honest. Guess I was thinking about my daughter and her new dress she is planning to wear. Very uncharacteristic of her so this must be a big thing. Knowing we weren't going to haul along our trusty picnic blanket, a bench sprang to mind as a possible alternative to dirt and grass based wardrobe mishaps. . Maybe she won't care... who knows? Just seemed like it wasn't a big deal either way. Nice day, tasty food, hopefully a memorable view... what my butt is on seems pretty low on the list.

Side note.. someone should totally start a chain of picnic blanket hire kiosks in tourist-magnet cities.

Plans change but foodwise, it's most likely we'll look for stuff that's pretty "French", whether it's takeaway or sit-down. If it were a longer stay, we might slip something else in but food was a big draw when we decided to include Paris in the trip. The kid has already listed escargot, frog legs and a good onion soup on her wish list. I'd like to find an easygoing bistro for some simple regional dishes too. We have lots of authentic East and South Asian, Middle Eastern, Southern European and East African places locally due to there being significant communities from those places so probably save "ethnic" dining for when we get back (we've also got stops both ways in Singapore on the way). But there's not much here in the way of decent French food. Crepes would fit the bill as far as street food and there seems to be plenty of creperies. I'd go for crepes everyday over Pret a Manger . Just wondered if there was something that fit the bill we hadn't heard about or if there was a favourite place where food and park space were right there together.

Not committted to picnicking along the river at all. But apparently, we're going to walk along there at night where Remy got knocked into the river. (those who know what I'm talking about will understand, anyone else would rightfully roll their eyes)


I'll go check out those spots to see where one or two might fit into the mix. Was also thinking about that little park right behind Sacre Coeur?

Tomboy, wow Buttes Chaumont looks a bit away from the usual tourist path but the photos are beautiful!

Starrs, Le Bonaparte looks like it is a block away from an early evening pastry class we're taking. I'd been looking at possible spots around there for dinner after. Was sort of considering Les Deux Magots but really only due to name recognition. I think you may have helped answer that question. Thanks!

aliced, thanks! Could be a good fix if we're around the 7th and get hungry. I've had family say we "had to" picnic on the grass by the Eiffel tower but not sure we will.
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 07:10 PM
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Starrs, thanks for the photos - especially the one of the interior of the restaurant. Not sure why it matters but it really looks the part inside, doesn't it??

Zebec, as long as the Skyhooks don't turn up (my tip? get outta show business, boys) Vert Gallant has a lot of appeal... for a somewhat geeky reason. (I'm researching as we go here and didn't realise til just now where that was) I'm always a bit giddy at finding some place that connects back to facinating moments in history.. which of course describes most of Paris. But that point in particular... imagine that being the very spot raiding Vikings first saw in the Seige of Paris. Something about that seems very cool as long as we can avoid a bad 70's soundtrack to go with it.

Basingstoke, I've amended my notes about the area to include Rue Montorgueil. I'm sure we'll enjoy peeking in the windows and a pastry!
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 09:53 PM
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Hi CounterClifton,

I wonder if I'm interpreting your "takeaway" correctly..... but I'd suggest you also think about collecting a deli spread for lunch or dinner. Head to a fromagerie and tell the staff that you'll be having a picnic that day, and to recommend 2 or 3 cheeses. The selection will likely blow your mind. Pick up pears or apples, some yogurt, some chocolate, and a baguette. Voila. You can do all this on Rue Montorgueil or really in any neighborhood. Pick your picnic spot, then search Google maps for fromagerie near me.

Another option -- one of the chickens on a roti stick you'll see everywhere. Add a baguette and a prepared salad, and you're good to go.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Sep 9th, 2023, 11:29 PM
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Hi Swandav. Takeaway is just Australian for ready to eat food as opposed to sitting down in a restaurant. Grocery stores and delis probably wouldn't be called takeaway but they kind of fit in this context.

Actually that all sounds pretty good. She's not a big fan of cheese, which is unfortunate for a French trip but I enjoy it and the rest would be things she liked. I am kind of curious, if you don't mind: because I think I've seen others over the years recommend the cheese and baguettes route, Same question might go for a roti chicken (sold as "charcoal chickens" across Australia) and salad. do mist people manage with fingers or do you usually see some plastic cutlery and delis and fromageries? Swiss Army knives?

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Old Sep 10th, 2023, 01:43 AM
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I don't believe that I saw a bench in the Renoir painting nor in the one by Manet.
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Old Sep 10th, 2023, 02:53 AM
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Hi again,

Lol, NO plastic cutlery! But you may find disposable sporks made of bamboo in shops and grocery stores... sometimes by the takeaway food, and sometimes at the cashier's stand. These days, I travel with a small set of cutlery. But I gotta say, I am not above -- and have done -- chomping a bite of baguette and then a bite of cheese. Needs must.





Have fun!

s


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Old Sep 10th, 2023, 02:59 AM
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A good charcuterie should offer not only different slices of pig but elegantly chopped small vegetables/olives etc
A good fromagerie should offer a range of cheeses
A good boulangerie should offer a range of breads and pastries or perhaps a sandwich with all included

Wanting to find a picnic shop in France is missing the point, France is full of picnic material but you have to visit three shops and make a holiday out of it. Google maps should offer you these nearby.
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