The Doâ€™s and Donâ€™ts of Picnicking in Paris
If you visit Paris for any length of time it is likely that you will want to pack some delicious French foods and head down to one of the numerous parks in the city for a picnic.Â When I lived in Paris this became an almost weekly occasion but being a Brit, I had no idea that the French have some â€œunspoken rulesâ€ about picnic etiquette.Â Unless you want to also make a huge faux pas when it comes to picnics I suggest you read on.
DO Choose the Right Location
In Paris the rule is â€“ the trendier the better.Â Most people will not be seen dead at a picnic unless it is a trendy hotspot with beautiful scenery and ample opportunities for people watching.Â Some of the most recommended picnic locations include:
- La Seine
- Buttes Chaumont
- Bois de Vicennes
- Canal St Martin
DO Dress Appropriately
Like the location, your dress has got to be trendy.Â Donâ€™t dress down whatever you do but on the other hand – no heels girls and no smart suits guys.Â Subtle colour co-ordinated outfits that incorporate scarves and skinny jeans are always a winner!Â Berrets arenâ€™t recommended unless you want your fellow picnickers to know you arenâ€™t French.
DO Bring Lots of Friends
So youâ€™ve heard that like Londoners, the Parisians arenâ€™t too friendly right?Â Well whilst this may be true in some situations, at a picnic â€“ the more the merrier.Â Social gatherings in Paris have been known to grown to outlandish proportions so if your friends, siblings and pet dog want to tag along let them… and yes dogs are welcome and are not considered to be unhygienic.
DO NOT Take â€œReady Madeâ€ Sandwiches
In Paris, ready-made sandwiches are a huge no-no at picnics so leave them in the supermarket where they belong.Â The least that you should come equipped with is a French baguette and cheese but be aware that the more sophisticated the better!Â Of course if you mumble â€œit only took me minutes to pull togetherâ€ as you produce your quiche and salad you will also be much admired by your fellow Parisians.
DO NOT Arrive on Time
Arriving on time is not cool full stop.Â Arriving early is a way of clearly showing people you are desperate and/or lonely.Â Arriving late is suave in Paris and muttering an apologetic â€œIâ€™m sorry, Iâ€™ve been tres busyâ€ is sure to get you noticed.Â You are cool and you have managed to squeeze the picnic into your hectic schedule â€“ they should be honoured that you are there.Â Of course this can get out of hand – especially if everyone arrives hours later than they were expected so if the picnic is your idea make sure you arrive at your location with a group of friends to avoid any embarrassment.
So there you have it, the doâ€™s and donâ€™ts of picnic etiquette in Paris.Â Itâ€™s not exactly what us Brits are used to but they are wide guidelines to follow â€“ especially if you are new to the city and want to make a great first impression!
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