A Picnic in Paris

Everyone agrees that Paris is a magical place. If you don’t believe this, we can no longer be friends. The one thing that I needed to do this summer when I spent a weekend in Paris was to have a pique-nique in front of the Eiffel Tower. I didn’t care about anything else (although we did lots of other cool things, too), as long as I got to have my picnic.

The French know a whole lot about how to live life, and we North Americans could all stand to learn a thing or two from them. Take things slowly. Work shorter weeks. Take six weeks of vacation every year. Drink more wine. Eat more cheese. Spend Sunday afternoons with your family.

They have also mastered the art of picnicking. When I was in France back in 2009, my study abroad group took a weekend trip up to Paris. One of my fondest memories of that weekend was the evening when we just picked up some take-out Chinese food and a couple of bottles of wine, and found a spot on the Champs de Mars and had a little picnic with the Eiffel Tower. I’ve never forgotten that evening.

I had plenty of pique-niques this summer. But the best one by far was our first night in Paris.

Justin and I arrived in the city on a Friday afternoon. After making our way out of the train station, we dragged all our luggage through the Métro and got off near the Eiffel Tower, where we walked to the apartment we had rented for the weekend (note: look into sites like House Trip if you want to stay right in the heart of a city without paying way too much for a swanky hotel, and don’t want to stay in a hostel).

That evening we headed out to complete the first and most important item on our to-do list. We waited in line for a couple of hours and then climbed the steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The wait and the climbing was totally worth it. Just magical.

After coming down, we wondered what we might do for dinner. Well duh. We walked a few blocks and picked up some take-out Chinese food, then bought a couple of Kronenbourgs from a convenience store down the street, found ourselves a nice little spot on the Champs de Mars and had ourselves a picnic. Surrounded by tourists taking selfies (myself obviously included), locals playing the guitar and singing (obnoxiously, I might add), and those guys who walk around trying to sell you trinkets and beer, we ate our Chinese food and watched la tour light up as dusk set in.

Every hour, at the top of the hour, it sparkles for five minutes, as seen in the photo above. Fun fact: did you know that the Eiffel Tower lit up and sparkling at night is actually copyrighted as an “original visual creation?!” Don’t worry, French courts, I’m not selling this image for commercial use.

We sat for a few hours watching the sparkles and taking in all that was around us. After heading back that night, it started to rain, but I didn’t care because I got to have my picnic. The rest of the weekend was filled with even more magical memories, but that’s another story for another time.

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