When you think of great Paris parks names such as Champ de Mars, Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc Monceau and Parc des Tuileries come to mind. They typically fit the mould of what a Parisian park should look and feel like.
For the past three years since living in Paris I have had the chance to really explore all the best picnic spots in Paris with my wife. Along our travels we found 3 very different and non-traditional parks that don’t quite fit the traditional Parisian park mould.
Jardin des Plantes
There is something for everyone at Jardin des Plantes. One of our favourite things to do in this park is to visit the monkey and apes at the small but only zoo located in Paris. The amount of flora and fauna in this park makes it really different from the other parks. Much like most Paris parks there is no shortage of sculptures however most of the ones here are very modernistic and quirky.
Take a stroll amongst the rose gardens or picnic on the beautifully tended to green grass. If you want to enter the galleries, green houses, museum of natural history or zoo at this park there will be separate tariffs to enter however the rest of the park is free. Not being much of a museum person I definitely recommend the Zoo and green houses for a little different experience than you’re used to in Paris.
This park is located in the 5th arrondissement and is easily accessed from Metro Jusieu, Place Monge or Gare d’Austerlitz followed by a short five minute walk.
This park is built along the Sien River on the ground of an old Citroën car factory. One of the reasons why we like this park so much is because it is not very touristy and if you looking to have a picnic in Paris you will often find you can’t find a spot picnic. Here you will not have this problem as there is loads of grass areas which are mostly populated mostly by locals.
On a hot summers day kids can play in the water jets on the esplanade while you lay on the grass sun baking. However the only downfall to this park is that there is not much shade. Also located in the park are 6 lush gardens and greenhouses plus a hot air balloon attached to the ground where you can get some great views of Paris.
You will find Parc André-Citroën located in the 15th arrondissement and is best accessible from Metro Lourmel and Balard or RER Pont du Garigliano.
Parc De La Villette
Parc De La Villette is amongst some of the largest parks in Paris and has a surface area of 35.5 hectares. Here you will find lots of lushes green grass which is parted down the middle by a gorgeous canal. There is definitely no shortage of picnic sports here.
Also located at Parc De La Villette are a number of entertainment options. The park is well known for the iconic and very large reflective dome which houses a 3D movie theatre. Among the entertainment you will also find a music theatre, loads of strange playgrounds for the kids and a science museum by the name of Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. Although it is very possible to have a picnic here the theme is more based on kids and family entertainment than the traditional city park.
Greg Chadwick: My wife and I moved to Paris to follow her dream of a professional dancer. I used to be a semi professional basketball player who now enjoys exploring the city of Paris and blogging about it. We love the city of Paris and really enjoy showing people the hidden gems and giving advice to help them have a great visit.