Things to do in Paris: Plan a family picnic by the Eiffel Tower

By Alyson Sheppard, Jan 2020

Picnic under the Eiffel Tower

When it comes to things to do in Paris, there isn't anything more iconic than a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. The 60-acre Champ de Mars green space is the perfect place to throw down a blanket and a basket in the evening and watch the Eiffel Tower's twinkling five-minute light show, which kicks off every hour on the hour. All you need to pick up are some drinks, food, a blanket and the right sweet treats to complete the evening.

Here's your shopping guide to all the must-haves for a night under the Eiffel Tower you won't soon forget.

Aerial of the Eiffel tower with Paris cityscape during sunset

Make yourself comfortable with a picnic on Paris' Champ de Mars to watch the Eiffel Tower's evening light display.

Pre-made picnics

Because picnicking is one of the best outdoor things to do in Paris, many shops near the Eiffel Tower cater to the activity. You can buy the essentials pre-assembled so you don't have to waste time running all over town before dinner. And shops are stocked with all the little things you might forget.

From April through September, the restaurant and coffee shop Zia sells freshly made picnics to go, rain or shine, from its storefront at 22 Avenue de Tourville. Each kit includes a baguette, cheese, charcuterie, water, a dessert, a seasonal salad or sandwich, a bottle of wine (red, white or bubbly), disposable cups and cutlery, napkins and a blanket. If you really want a keepsake from the evening, book a photo session and picnic package with Pictours Paris, which supplies you with a wicker basket that you can take home.

Love Picnic Paris will deliver and set up a lunch or dinner picnic seven days a week at the Champ de Mars or the Jardins du Trocadéro. It offers four baskets that include market-fresh cured meats and cheeses, macaroons, chocolates and add-ons such as Champagne, flowers, pillows and candles. It also supplies the blanket, cutlery, plates and glasses. When you're done with your picnic, it'll do all the clean-up work for you!

DIY picnics

When assembling a picnic on your own, you'll first want to stock up on the necessities: disposable plates, utensils and napkins; a corkscrew; a blanket; and an umbrella, should the weather turn foul. You can pick up these essentials at Monoprix, a major retailer with a location a short walk from the Champ de Mars.

Next, get the provisions. Classic Parisian meals include fresh baguettes, cheeses, spreads, cured meats, fruit, salads, sandwiches and cookies. You could also pick up a rotisserie chicken, which you can find in many places and makes for a hearty meal. Pick up your goods along Rue Cler, a famous nearby street market full of cafes, butcher shops, cheese stores, chocolatiers and bakeries. (Be sure to do some window-shopping on your way!) Standouts include Halles Bosquet, one of the largest grocers for berries and stone fruits; Ronde des Pains, which is renowned for its croissants and baguettes; and Fromagerie, which is stocked with Camembert and brie cheeses.

Whether you do it yourself or have someone else make it for you, an open-air picnic under the Eiffel Towel is a memorable experience. Just show up early to get a good blanket spot!

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