It's very easy to find a park if you want to picnic in Paris. The city is filled with so many painfully picturesque parks that you could spend your entire stay visiting them. Some of the parks are tiny plots tucked away between buildings. Others are lush and grand oases in the city. If I had to choose one, just one, to while away the day, or better yet to have a picnic, it would be the Jardin du Luxembourg. And, favorite picnic spots is our topic for this month's Across the Cafe Table.
There are many reasons why I prefer the Jardin du Luxembourg over all the other parks in Paris, but the biggest one was probably subconcious. On a guided walk through the gardens, I learned that the park has Italian origins! Originally owned by the duke of Luxembourg, hence the name, Marie de Medici, wife of Henry IV and mother of Louis XIII, purchased it in 1612. Her plan was to model the palace and the park after her childhood home, the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens of Florence.
The Luxembourg Gardens provide both a verdant and tranquil setting for a picnic, along with quiet corners where you can nestle yourself away from the crowds. When I want to be part of the crowd or people watch, I'll take a seat center stage around the Grand Bassin, the pool in front of the Luxembourg Palace (now the French Senate), or check out the old guys playing boules and chess. After the French Revolution, the gardens were redesigned in the French style. Traces of its origins remain; including the original layout, the Medici Fountain, and a statue of The Mouth of Truth modeled after the one in Rome.
After one of my Paris Food Walks, with much picnic fare purchased, I'd enjoy a picnic on one of the park's benches. It's also an idyllic place to have a morning viennoiserie before you start your day in the city, or to pause for pastry binges in the afternoon. I've walked off those calories without even leaving the park as there are plenty of little alleys running along the park's perimeter and weaving their way throughout the grounds.
What's in my Paris picnic basket? Well, it's all about the bread, the cheese and the pastries. I'll frequently add a bit of foie gras, seasonal fruit, maybe some olives and charcuterie, depending on who's joining me and how hungry we are.
This is the fourth installment in the "Across the Café Table" series organized by Margo of The Travel Belles. Once a month, Margo asks a travel-related question. We who participate share our answers “across the virtual café table,” on our own blogs, and all link to the Travel Belles' post. Everyone is welcome to participate. As Margo says, "Grab a beverage and pull up a chair – there’s always plenty of room!" Why don't you head on over there now, and check out what others' favorite souvenirs are from around the world.
Now, it's your turn: Where is your favorite spot to have a picnic? What's in your ideal picnic basket?