Having a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower should be on everyone’s list of things to do when you’re visiting Paris. Unless it’s the dead of winter then maybe not so much! Before our trip, I was researching like crazy to see where we should go, what can we bring, etc. I didn’t find any recent information (at least since COVID) so I thought I would share with all of you my experience so you can be prepared as well!
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Where to Picnic in Front of the Eiffel Tower?
If you want to be dead center of the Eiffel Tower, my suggestion would be to go Champ de Mars. It’s a huge grassy lawn where everyone hangs out. This is where most everyone is having the picnics.
What to Bring?
I brought a combination of things that I brought from home and that I bought over in Paris. The main thing that I brought from home was a picnic blanket. Yes, it took up space in my suitcase, but I thought it was worth saving the hassle of finding a blanket and spending extra money on one in Paris. There were other items that I wanted to bring but I just ran out of suitcase room. The rest of the items, I just bought in Paris. Below is a quick checklist if you are looking for something basic to check off for your picnic.
- Food (See below for suggestions on where)
- Blanket (I made mine from Mimeo)
- Plastic Cutlery
- Bottles of Water
- Bottle of Wine
- Collapsable Wine Bucket (Amazon dupe here)
- Plastic Cups/Plastic Glasses (I swear by these but only if you feel like ordering them ahead of time and bringing them across the world)
- Napkins/Paper Towels
- Wine Table (Again, only if you feel like lugging this across the world. I wanted to bring mine but I ran out of room!)
- Bag (To carry everything in)
Strategy for Having the Best Eiffel Tower Picnic
This strategy I’m about to tell you is key! If you want to have the best Eiffel Tower picnic experience, do NOT try to buy all of your stuff the day you want to have your picnic. You will be tired from all the shopping and won’t even have the energy to go to the Eiffel Tower anymore. I know this is true because it happened to us. We originally wanted to have our picnic earlier in the week but after the hours we spent trying to find supplies, we were too tired and wanted to go home. In the end, we decided to push the picnic to a later day.
So, first and foremost, you want to have your picnic towards the end of your trip. This is key because this will allow you to slowly buy things here and there throughout the duration of your trip. Once we decided to have our picnic on a later date, we were able to buy things over time from supermarkets, little hole-in-the-wall shops, restaurants, patisseries, etc. It was nice because, by the time our picnic day came, we had a whole collection of food that represented our time in Paris. We were also not tired from running around all day so we really got to enjoy our Eiffel Tower picnic.
Where to Get Food for My Eiffel Tower Picnic?
There are a lot of places that we went to but below are the main supermarkets or stores if you want to have something special to eat during your Eiffel Tower picnic.
- La Grande Epicerie: Huge market and food hall with all the fancy meat, cheeses, wine, bread, truffles, desserts, etc. that you can ever dream of.
- Lafayette Gourmet: Another huge market and food hall just like La Grande Epicerie. You can go to either store and practically find the same items. Which one you go to will mainly depend on which one you are closer to.
- Le Comptoir de La Gastronomie: This is a foie gras restaurant that also has a super cute market inside. We had the most amazing lunch there one day and decided to pick up a few foie gras items for our picnic. They also sell wine, cheese, smoked salmon, caviar, etc. in case you don’t like foie gras. This place is definitely for you if you get overwhelmed by big grocery stores like the first two places I mentioned.
- Monoprix or Carrefour: This is your basic supermarket/store where you might find anything else you need or want for your picnic. This will be your cheapest option but you won’t find anything really gourmet here. Carrefour is where we found our wine cooler bag and some mini wine glasses which we didn’t end up bringing.
Where to Get Last-Minute Items or Food Near the Eiffel Tower?
Where to Get a Baguette?
I mean there’s no point in having this picnic without having a french baguette right? You could buy a baguette ahead of time but we wanted our bread to be the freshest possible so we thought we would pick one up near the Eiffel Tower. We found a cute bakery near Champ de Mars that sold all sorts of bread. They even have sandwiches, wraps, quiches, etc. if you feel like you need something more substantial.
Where to Get Ice?
I absolutely hate warm alcohol. Especially, when it’s champagne or white wine. Earlier in the week, we found this portable wine cooler and thought it would be great to use for our picnic. The problem was that we couldn’t fill it with ice from our hotel since it would have melted by the time we got to the Eiffel Tower. Luckily, we found a super small supermarket (Franprix) right next to Champ de Mars that sold bags of ice. It’s actually right next to the bakery mentioned above so it’s really convenient if you need to go to both places. We also bought disposable cups here for our wine.
When is it the Best Time for Photos?
Having a picture of your picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower is an amazing souvenir to bring home. We started our picnic around 3:30 pm-4:00 pm. The sun didn’t set until 7:15 pm so we had a lot of the day left. If you are looking to take pictures, I suggest you go super early in the morning so you can avoid the crowds and the light won’t be as strong. At this time, the sun will be facing you so make sure you keep that in mind. Again, I would only suggest this time if you only care about photos and not having a picnic.
Otherwise, if you are actually interested in having a picnic, I suggest going a couple of hours before sunset like we did. There weren’t too many people around and the light got softer as it set. The sun will also start to set behind you so eventually, you’ll be in the shade and have no direct sunlight on you if that’s what you’re looking for.
Can I Bring Alcohol to My Eiffel Tower Picnic?
There’s a lot of questions about if you can or cannot bring alcohol to your Eiffel Tower picnic. I believe the official answer is no, but I saw everyone bringing their own alcohol anyways. We brought a bottle of champagne ourselves so I know for sure you can bring and drink it. I think the overall consensus is that as long as you’re not creating problems or a ruckus, you’re fine to bring what you want. There are even guys walking around selling bottles of wine and beer right out in the open so I think the no-alcohol rule is pretty lax.
If I would do this again, I would for sure lug my little bamboo wine table that I got from Amazon with me across the world. I would also buy wine glasses from Carrefour or Monoprix so I can be really fancy and not drink my wine out of a paper or plastic cup. We actually had wine glasses in our room that we bought, but I was too afraid that glassware was probably going to be frowned upon. But after seeing for myself what everyone else brought, I wouldn’t be afraid anymore. Well, I hope all of this was helpful and if you have questions, feel free to comment below!