Le Square du Vert-Galant
What’s more Parisian than spreading out a blanket on the Champ de Mars or along the Seine and sharing a leisurely meal of fresh baguette, cheese, charcuterie, wine, and maracons? Paris Picnic, the first service picnic delivery service of its kind, will bring an artisanal picnic – complete with locally sourced goods, wine, cups, cutlery, and a cotton blanket – to the location of your choice. Simply select and customize your picnic online, request a delivery location and time, and voila: a picture-perfect picnic experience made easy.
Since its founding in 2013, Paris Picnic has become the 3rd highest rated restaurant on Paris’ TripAdvisor. The team serves up to 40 clients on a given day, from honeymooners, to families, to bachelorette parties, to corporate events. We sat down with the folks behind Paris Picnic to find out more.
Sandwiches from Paris Picnic
Paris Picnic’s Marais Shop; Le Jardin du Port de l’Arsenal
To start with, tell us about the inspiration behind Paris Picnic. How did you first get started?
The original idea came up when Americans Katya and Patrick were having a big picnic with a group of friends in Parc Monceau in the summer of 2013. They ran out of rosé and went outside the park to get more. It was a Sunday, when most shops in Paris are closed, so it took almost an hour to find more drinks and food.
They started to daydream about having someone bring them a picnic without their having to forage for food and wine, so that they could maximize their time spent with friends. They talked to friends, their friends talked to friends, they searched the Internet… but there was no such service in Paris. And voilá, they decided to create the service themselves by launching Paris Picnic in 2013.
View from le Square du Vert-Galant
We knew that we loved the idea of a picnic delivery service and so did our friends, but any business idea is a hypothesis that must be tested. Katya and Patrick got a group of friends together on a Saturday afternoon, packed some picnics that included fresh breads, cheeses, meats, salads, fruit and the like, and set up a pop-up store under the Pont Neuf. They quickly sold out of all they’d prepared and people loved the idea!
The next day, the Paris Picnic team moved to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, a very popular park amongst Parisians. People once again loved the idea. Word had actually spread about this picnic company from the day before, and there were a handful of people that asked the Paris Picnic team whether they were the people at Square du Vert-Galant/under Pont Neuf the previous day.
The concept was proven to be popular, the business was launched, and the rest is history!
Sandwiches from Paris Picnic; Le Square du Vert-Galant
What are some lesser-known, hidden spots for picnickers looking to escape the crowds?
Le Square du Vert Galant – At the western end of Île de la Cité on Pont Neuf, this small floating garden in the middle of the Seine is a popular picnic spot for romance. Take some time to watch the boats cruise by on the river and then visit the Cathédral de Notre Dame after you finish your picnic.
Port de l’Arsenal
The Arènes de Lutèce – This is one of our secret spots for a picnic in Paris. Constructed in the 1st century, the Arena of Lutèce is one of the few remains of the Gallo-Roman era in Paris. It is the perfect place for a bit of culture and history while enjoying a quiet place in the heart of the city that many Parisians do not even know exists. It is kind of a “Haven in Paris.”
Port d’Arsenal – A really special hidden place is a riverfront park behind Bastille, Jardin du Port de l’Arsenal. Walk down the stairs from street level to find the many benches, little green areas, and walkways to hide away in. The most special part is that the park is right next to a small port where boat residents live. So really only very local people (or boat residents) know about this spot!
View from le Square du Vert-Galant
Most romantic spot for a picnic in Paris?
For a romantic evening picnic, set up on the cobblestone around Square du Vert-Galant. Lay out your blanket under the iconic weeping willow at the end of the point, dangle your feet above the Seine, and watch the boats go by. For a romantic daytime picnic, we recommend setting up in the private area between the hedges at the Jardin des Tuileries. Tip: walk through the Western entrance of the park at Place de la Concorde and walk through the manicured gardens and fountains. It’s better to set up your picnic on the side closer to the Louvre because there are open fields of grass and security is not strict!
Le Square du Vert-Galant
Funniest, sweetest, or weirdest delivery you’ve ever made?
We were speaking to a customer who wanted to surprise her husband with a picnic at the Champ de Mars; they were traveling to Paris to celebrate. We have many customers who want to celebrate a special event, so nothing seemed out of the ordinary here. We delivered the picnic and received an email from the woman thanking us for her picnic and saying that they had a wonderful time. A few minutes after, I also received an e-mail from a customer that had ordered a picnic for the next day… it turns that out that this gentleman was the woman’s husband and had ordered a surprise picnic for her for the next day, but she had surprised him first! Did they cancel the picnic? No. But we made sure to change their order for an evening delivery of “Le Bon Bon,” which is our most romantic picnic that includes a bottle of lovely champagne, fresh fruit, chocolate, and freshly made desserts.
Paris Picnic has opened up a full-fledged shop in the North Marais. What do you offer there?
We offer picnics on the go when our customers want to eat along the Canal St-Martin, located five minutes away from our shop, or on the Square du Temple. We also offer a daily menu with fresh salads and sandwiches that you can take to-go. We change the menu everyday so do not hesitate to come and try it!
Jardin du Port de l’Arsenal
- Picnic season is finally approaching! Here are our favorite spots to grab food for the perfect DIY picnic in Paris.
- According to Paris expert Alexandra Marshall, another wonderful place for a picnic is the Parc de Belleville, which offers stunning views of the city.
- Forest Collins’ The Chamber social club hosts regular events for food and cocktail enthusiasts, including picnics, dinner parties, and apéros.
Written by Isabel Miller-Bottome for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos by Isabel Miller-Bottome. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.