Very few people seem able to escape the effects of our recession. I propose that perhaps the only solution is to pack up and head off to France, realizing that while the amount of dollars and cents in our pockets might vary from year to year, the memories that we create will be something we carry with us always. A picnic lunch seems to me the ultimate delight, combining our fiscally responsible adult with our whimsical inner child. Paris, without a doubt, offers the beauty of location.
Champ du Mars
The Eiffel Tower has for so many become a symbol synonymous with Paris. It only seems fitting on a search for the perfect picnic spot to begin here. At 60 acres it is one of the largest parks. Named after the Roman God of war Mars, it was once used as a military training field. These days it has become a spot frequented by people partaking in somewhat less hostile activities. Personally, I would rather lie about lazily enjoying the view from my picnic blanket then engage in a military drill. Of course if this view of the Eiffel Tower is not to your liking there is always a view from the opposite side.
Jardins de Trocadero
This location offers an alternative view of the Eiffel Tower. It also plays host to English-styled gardens, impressive sculptures, bronze gilded statues, and the Fountains of Varsovie. This would be enough to persuade even the most finicky to spread their picnic blanket here and yet there is one final draw. Within the grounds there is a carousel where children can ride atop horses decorated in the color of their choice while trying to catch golden rings with each passing turn. This is an activity that is certain to bring a smile to both the participant and any onlookers enjoying a picnic lunch.
For those who want a more encompassing view of the city there is Buttes Chaumont. It’s adorned with manmade grottos, beautiful stonework, and the sounds of water created by a 32 ft waterfall that cascades into the lake below. From here you can overlook the city while taking in the best of what nature has to offer. This is truly a picnic spot fit for the Gods – placed atop a hill is the Sybille Temple modeled after one found in Tivoli, Italy.
While Buttes Chaumont might worship the Gods, Parc Monceau was once frequented by the likes of Marcel Proust. Its picturesque setting was even the subject of a Monet painting. Within the grounds you can find an Egyptian pyramid, a Dutch windmill and statues dedicated to Maupassant, Amboise Thomas – even Chopin. It is open until 8:00pm in the winter and 10:00pm in the summer, creating the perfect atmosphere for a truly picturesque picnic under the stars.
Banks of the Seine
This final picnic spot has been the subject of paintings by Manet, Monet, and Van Gogh just to name a few. There are over thirty-seven bridges to choose from crossing over the Seine like the Pont des Arts, just to name one. Grab your slice of the quay with a view of your favorite. If a view of a bridge is not to your liking you can sit on the banks near the Notre Dame cathedral. The Cathedral serves as a backdrop to the perfect evening all aglow. Here you can spread your blanket, uncork your bottle of wine, and look out upon the river as a passing boat takes with it the last of a day’s waning rays from a sun setting in Parisian skies.