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Paris Picnic Etiquette: the Dos and Don’ts of Dining Al Fresco

Parc des Buttes Chaumont (Celine NYC)

If you’re in Paris in summer, you’ll pretty quickly realize that as soon as the sun starts to glimmer, Parisians grind into picnic gear. However, despite informal appearances, there is a complex and unspoken code of conduct to be adhered to in order to avoid unforgivable picnic faux pas.

Do dress appropriately.

It is important to give the air of not trying very hard. For girls: a categorical ‘no’ to heels and look-at-me makeup.  For guys: forget smart suits or bling sportswear, it’s all about skinny jeans and scarves. Subtle colour and pattern coordination are à la mode. Hats highly recommended.

Gail Tang

Do arrive late.

It is useless to turn up anywhere near the appointed picnic hour. It is best to saunter up several hours in, give a slightly (don’t overdo it) apologetic smile, whilst simultaneously giving the impression that your diary is over-spilling with très fun engagements and that the organiser should therefore be delighted that you’ve managed to squeeze them in.

Karigee

Do invite lots of friends.

The concept of ‘the more the merrier’ is de rigueur. Whereas the biting winter winds keep Parisians at home or drives them (penguin-style) into crowded, sweaty bars, the warm summer weather democratizes social gatherings, which are known to take on gigantesque proportions!

Do not buy ready-made sandwiches.

It is unacceptable to pop to the supermarket and pick up a long-life cellophane-encased creation that deigns to call itself a ‘sandwich’. A fresh baguette, some cheese and charcuterie are the bare minimum. Continue Reading »

Posted in Green, Parisian Living | 17 Comments »

Lounge Here Now: Best Places to Loiter in Paris

from pont des artsView from Pont des Arts – Erica Berman

It seems somewhat unnecessary to write a post of this nature, given that any part of Paris could be considered an ideal place to loiter. A blind-folded novice could be dropped in any corner of this city and, after a few minutes of wandering, would have no trouble finding a scenic spot in which to spend a few hours. There are almost too many places to park oneself for a morning or afternoon (or, hey, a whole day), which is why I’ve come up with a list of a few standouts that I return to again and again.

Note: I’m assuming that the city’s big gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg, the Tuileries, Bois de Boulogne, and the Bois de Vincennes) are givens. You can’t go wrong at any of them, but as a semi-pro loiterer, I prefer to venture off the beaten path.

Chilled-out loiteringCanal St. Martin. Paris’ low-key canal stretches from Place de la République all the way towards the northern border of the city. People from all walks of life—hipsters, families, total weirdos—hang out along the Canal’s cobbled banks, picnicking and reveling until the wee hours of the night.

Canal St Martin EBBCanal St Martin – Erica Berman

Continue Reading »

Posted in Green, Parisian Living | 7 Comments »

Exploring Paris’ Green Spaces

alois-green-spaces-blogpic

Photo Erica Berman

Text Jen Holup
Open the infamous little red “Plan de Paris” to a map of any arrondissement, and you will be presented with pleasant green shapes on every page.  Full of green spaces to discover, Paris is a veritable urban jungle.

Many of Paris’ parks are well-tred territory, beloved by both locals and tourists alike. Luxembourg Gardens is a welcome rest-stop on a journey through the bustling Latin Quarter to Montparnasse. the Champs de Mars and Jardin des Tuileries offer grandiose promenades among the city’s most impressive monuments.  Yet, more than once, after packing a picnic and a book for an afternoon in the park, I have found one of the endearing “pelouse au repos” signs gracing the lawn, informing me (albeit in the charming French way) that the grass was “resting,” and thus unfit for human contact.  So, where does one retreat for a picnic in the City of Lights while our flora friends recuperate? Continue Reading »

Posted in Arts, Events, Green | No Comments »