Every year, as the sun starts to sizzle, a picnic pandemic hits Paris. Although undeniably chic, the pique-nique parisien often comes with a lot of fuss. Those agonizingly slow-moving queues at the supermarket and the fight to find a decent grassy spot, can mean that by the time you actually sit down to eat you’ve lost your enthusiasm (and your appetite!)
So what’s the answer? Well, there’s one simple formula; fast food (real fast food, not McDo.) Paris’ street food scene has exploded in recent years, with a huge range of fresh and flavorsome options now available to Parisians a emporter. So here’s a guide to some of our favorite fast food take outs, all accompanied by a little-known lunch spot within a short walk, to ensure that perfect fast food, fuss-free Parisian picnic.
Burgers in the Marais
1) Blend burgers are some of the most notable on the ever-expanding Parisian burger scene. Made with locally sourced meat from one of the city’s best butchers, Yves-Marie le Bourdonnec, Blend doesn’t joke about fast food. Select your burger, fries and drink (not forgetting your preferred cuisson) and within minutes a fresh, cooked-to-order patty smelling tantalizingly tasty will appear before you.
Blend – 1 boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris. Tel: + 33 (0)1 44 78 28 83
Just a few and streets away from the Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire lies the Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur. Like all the best spots, it’s well hidden, sat modestly behind the Hôtel du Grand-Veneur. Dotted with trellised rose bushes and shady trees, the neatly-kept lawns allow just enough space for a small group of friends to enjoy a bite to eat.
Jardin-Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur – rue des Arquebusiers, 75003 Paris.
Dim Sum in the Parc Monceau
2) Arguably the freshest dim sum in Paris, the Cantonese dumplings at Mum Dim Sum are all made from scratch, with a range of fabulous fillings. From pork five-spice to shitake mushrooms and edamame beans, you may find yourself stuck for choice. If visiting at lunch, go for a formule of two or three baskets.
Mum Dim Sum – 14 boulevard de Courcelles, 75017 Paris. Tel: + 33 (0)1 46 22 33 04
Mum Dim Sum/ Parc Monceau, Paris in Four Months
Although perhaps not as far off the beaten track as some of the other “secret” gardens mentioned here, Parc Monceau, still feels a long way from Paris’ bustling streets. Located in the rather ritzy 8th arrondissement, even though it may get crowded, it’s usually just with yummy mummies and their toddlers. Stay away from the lake if you’re looking for somewhere quiet to eat your dumplings in peace.
Parc Monceau – boulevard de Courcelles, 75008 Paris.
Bagels & Brownies, Isabel Miller-Bottome
Bagels and Brownies in the Latin Quarter
3) Come lunch time, you can guarantee the lower section of the rue Notre Dame des Champs will be occupied by the long queue pouring out of Bagels and Brownies. A slice of the states just one stop away from Montparnasse, each bagel is prepared fresh in front of you with your choice of bread, sauce and filling. Try to leave room for one of the desserts in the window; the pecan pie and chocolate fondant are both equally hard to resist.
Bagels and Brownies – 12 rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, 75006 Paris. Tel: + 33 (0)1
Jardin de l’Ecole Normale Superieure, Isabel Miller-Bottome
Jardin de l’École normale supérieure: The gardens of Paris’ École normale supérieure are easy to miss if you’re not looking carefully. Set in the shadows of the Pantheon, lunch here is almost guaranteed to be an intimate affair (when classes are in session). Benches encircle the gushing water fountain in the middle, where you’ll soon notice the stone heads of several French intellectuals peering down on you and your picnic.
Jardin de l’école normale supérieure – 45 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris.
Pho Banh Cuon 14, May Chung
Pho in Chinatown
4) As soon as you get off the metro at Tolbiac, Asian flavors wafting from every restaurant will get you in the mood for lunch. When searching for Pho Banh Cuon 14, don’t get confused with the countless other phos nearby. The word itself refers to a Vietnamese noodle-soup dish Parisians more widely refer to as a Bo Bun. On the menu at Pho 14 you’ll find generous portions and arguably the best pho in the capital.
Pho Banh Cuon 14 – 129 avenue de Choisy, 75013 Paris. Tel: + 33 (0)1 45 83 61 15
Parc de Choisy, Isabel Miller-Bottome
Conveniently located across the street, the Parc de Choisy may not have the prestige of somewhere like Luxembourg, but it’s all you could ever want from an outdoor lunch spot. Even at midday, crowds are sparse and picnic spots aplenty. Choose from the sunny central lawns or the shady outer tree avenues.
Parc de Choisy – 2 rue de Docteur Magnan, 75013 Paris.
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