One of the most iconic images of Paris is the river Seine, winding through the center of the city. During the day, the Seine mainly plays host to floating restaurants and tour boats, but on the weekends and evenings her riverbanks come alive with picnickers. There are some lovely places to soak up the sun with a glass of rosé and a baguette by the river. Here are our top spots!
Île de la Cité
The Seine splits briefly into two, creating two “islands” linked by the small Saint Louis bridge. One of these, the Île de la Cité, is a popular spot for picnics, especially its eastern tip. On sunny days, you’ll find groups of students with guitars dangling their feet over the water. In the evenings however, it attracts a more boisterous crowd, and a never-ending stream of rose-sellers…
Metro Pont Neuf
Across the street from the Jardin des Plantes, the Quai Bernard is a great spot for a picnic, and you can also pick up the Batobus (boat tour) here. Miniature ‘arenas’ are used for outdoor dance classes, and there’s a pleasant walk along the bank that takes you towards the Pont de Sully.
If you want to see the Eiffel tower doing her ‘sparkly thing’ at night, but can’t face the crowds on the Champ de Mars, then you absolutely have to check out the gardens at Trocadero, across the river and directly opposite the tower. Not only do you get a great view, but the fountains are pretty impressive too, and you’re right by the river. Perfect for dinner on the grass.
Canal Saint Martin
Sure, it’s not technically on the river, but – as all the hipsters know – the Quai de Jemmapes on the Saint Martin canal is where it’s at. Far fewer tourists head here, and you’ll find families, colleagues, couples and friends sitting on the cobbled banks with picnics throughout the day – but especially on warm Friday evenings. Look out for the fishermen who enjoy this spot too! The surrounding streets are pedestrianized from Saturday afternoon through Sunday.
Metro Jacques Bonsergent
Berges de Seine
The recently-renovated 2.3 kilometers of “berges” (riverbanks) between the Musée d’Orsay and the Pont de l’Alma are now home to floating gardens, bars, deckchairs, free exercise classes, and all sorts of kids activities. Bring a picnic (not on the floating gardens, as my mom and I learned, but anywhere else is fine!) and let the kids enjoy the free outside games while you watch the boats pass by.
Metro Pont de l’Alma
From July 20 to August 20, the famous ‘Paris Plages’ will be installed on the riverbanks. The normally busy roads become beaches (sand, loungers, pool, everything!) Grab an ice cream and wander down the river for a lazy afternoon stroll, before finding your perfect picnic spot. Bring sunscreen!
Check here for the different Paris Plages locations.
Of course, if you love nothing more than lunching outside, we’re pretty sure you’ll love our Versailles Bike Tour, which features a proper French picnic in the famous grounds!