People sit alongside the Seine River in Paris during sunset.
Picnicking along La Seine, Laura Stanley

With the third lockdown now behind us and sunny weather in full swing, Parisians are getting creative with finding ways to see their friends. While thankfully the days of people watching from a café terrace have just returned, here are some other ways locals have been staying social — safely.

Left: Sun falls across Square du Vert Gallant as many people picnic there.
Right: Two people sit on a bench overlooking Place de la Concorde.
Left: Square du Vert Gallant / Right: Place de La Concorde – javiernapi

Picnics with Games

Picnics have always been the quintessential Parisian pastime, but now seeing small groups of friends gathered around board games or sets of cards has become as common as fresh baguettes. Share the hand sanitizer before explaining the rules, and don’t forget your reusable cups! No more shared wine bottles.

Left: Two young girls laugh at each other, sitting at a picnic at Champs de Mars.
Right: The Eiffel Tower stands out from a vantage point at the top of Rue de Pyrenees.
Left: Champs de Mars, livelovetraveloften
Right: rue de Pyrenees, pixiprol

Biking Through the Bois

Did you know that Vélib, Paris’ bike share, has stations throughout the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes? You and a friend can each hop on one and go for a calm ride through the forest, taking in the greenery that you might be missing after a year of staying indoors. Get some takeout from your favorite restaurant and set up beside one of the lakes, and you’re set for a perfect afternoon.

Left: Two women with masks on stroll along the Seine River in front of La Conciergerie. 
Right: Two people sit on green metal chairs in Jardin de Tuileries.
Left: Friends along La Seine, lakota974
Right: Jardin de Luxembourg, avecmar

Activities Along Canal de l’Ourcq

Not just a lovely spot for a stroll, the activity areas that line the Canal de l’Ourcq are in hotter demand than ever before. Ping-pong and chess tables are the new hangout spots for the young and the old, as long as you bring your own equipment. Both sides of the water have always been pétanque hotspots but finding available space has become the new challenge as more people search for socially distant activities outdoors.

Left: A waiter serves drinks at a crowded terrace.
Right: Three macarons with bites taken out of them are perched atop an open book.
Left: Crowded Terrasse, rom_buff
Right: Macarons and Literature, alifirova

Takeaway Beers

If you can’t bring people to the bar, bring the bar to the people! Any square meter of extra space outside of a bar has become a terrasse, but for those holding out for a full reopening, we have beers to-go, which is the new Covid-safer version of happy hour. Young people linger around squares and wide sidewalks in pairs or small groups, each group spaced out from other parties trying to soak up the pre-9pm sun before curfew hits and everyone scurries home.

Left: Parc de Buttes Chaumont is sprouting green with a reflect
Right: A typical Parisian picnic blanket with bread, cheese, fruits, flowers, macarons, and wine.
Left: Parc de Buttes Chaumont, javiernapi
Right: Champs de Mars Picnic, sissi.saray

Park-Friendly Sports

I’m calling it now: 2021 is the year of badminton. Friends playing badminton has become an increasingly common sight, both in parks and on pedestrian-friendly streets. You can put up a makeshift net, or just whack around a birdie to your liking. If you are not racket sport inclined, frisbees, hula hoops, or slacklines are some other popular options.

Left: A picture of a Parisian bistrot with customers seated and two ladies approaching from the street. Right: A picture of a French raspberry tart with backgrounds of Parisian buildings and sunset.
Left: Maison Sauvage, dathhh
Right: Tarte aux Framboises, sorayazrl

Related Links

Written by Hannah Polinski for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person (when possible)? Check out new marketplace shop and experiences.


Hannah Polinski

Hannah is a Chinese-Canadian writer and photographer currently based in Paris, France. She can be found at your local bakery sampling pastries and baguettes, or else planning her escape from the city to become a yak farmer.

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