Picnicking is taken so seriously in Paris that once a year locals throw a Dîner en Blanc, a formal picnic where guests wear white and bring out their best china to dine by the hundreds at landmarks like the Carousel du Louvre or Place de la Concorde. For your own picnic, there is nowhere more romantic than the western tip of the Île de la Cité, the sunset behind the bridges as the Seine rushes by, or at the foot of the Eiffel Tower on the Champs de Mars. Local market streets like the Place Maubert Mutualité in the Latin Quarter or rue Lourmel near the Eiffel Tower sell everything needed for an intimate picnic; chilled champagne, artisanal cheeses, ripe produce, fresh bread, and pastries for a sweet ending.
By Sylvia Sabes, AFAR Local Expert
Flower and Bird Market near Notre Dame
Each Sunday from 8 am - 7 pm there is a flower market and only on Sunday's includes birds of all shapes and sizes, bunny rabbits too! It is known as "Marché aux Fleurs et Oiseaux". The flower market is mostly potted plants on Sunday, other days it includes cut flowers. Take the Metro to Cite´ and when you come up the stairs turn around and you'll be there. The little birds flutter and the planters full of colorful shrubs and flowers are really beautiful. And the rabbits are soft and cuddly. Turn right and walk down rue de Lutece and you'll run into The Cour du Mai which is the entrance to Palais de Justice and behind he wall is one of the most beautiful churches, Sainte-Chapelle. Sainte-Chapelle was built in 1248 by Louis IX to house the crown of thorns and other relics. The most beautiful are the 15 stained glass windows and the Rose Window. They depict over 1,000 religious scenes. Really stunning. To the right is Conciergerie, this prison was used a lot during the Revolution, and yes, the guillotine was used here. Then you can go to Notre Dame. By the way, did you know in front of Notre Dame is a marker "Point Zéro" where all things in France are marked in distance from this spot. If open, go to the Crypte Archeologique, which is below ground, that has remains of houses from 2,000 years ago. Then take a walk to Au Bougnat, a really good bistro (bistrot). Here is their website and menu: http://www.aubougnat.com/carte.html Have a great day in Cite´!
Ile de la Cite
After you drop your bags off at the apt, wander around "the center of Paris". You are surrounded by the Seine and only the loveliest bridges lead you anywhere and everywhere.