Although Paris is a world renown gastronomic destination, not every visitor comes to the city to eat. There are so many things to see and visit while visiting Paris that sometimes food takes a back seat on a tourist’s itinerary. For those of you who want to eat on the go but still embrace the Paris food scene, there are a growing number of places where you can grab a quick bite on your way to your next destination or find pieces to put together a perfect picnic. Here are a few suggestions for packing lunch in Paris.
Picnic Basics: Bread, Cheese, and Charcuterie
Bread, cheese, and charcuterie are the holy trinity of French apéro and they are also the basics of any self-respecting Paris picnic basket. Traditionally a baguette will do just fine- but with so many options for great bread why not think beyond the baguette? For a truly exceptional (and organic!) loaf, head to Du Pain et des Idées near the Canal St. Martin. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, head straight to Chambelland where all the baked goods are gluten-free, but you wouldn’t know it if I hadn’t told you! Pick up Boulangerie Bo‘s squid ink and cumin bread if you want to have a more unique Paris pain experience. And of course, if you want to prepare your own bread, you can take a French Bread Class at Cook’n With Class Paris!
Boulangerie Bo’s squid ink & cumin bread, by Nocole Y.
A new wave of artisan fromagers has recently set up shop in Paris. You can find a wide selection of high-quality cheeses at fromageries such as Taka & Vermo, La Laiterie de Paris, and La Crèmerie. Paris f you’re looking for something lactose-free, Jay & Joy has you covered with their selection of vegan “vromage” including cashew, almond, and other nut-based “cheeses”- they even have a “jeesecake” for dessert!
Taka & Vermo, by Taka & Vermo
All you need is a pocket knife, a cutting board, and a couple saucissons to put together your own assiette de charcuterie. There are several options for finding great cured and prepared meats in Paris, but my favorite spots always end up being the city’s markets– where a mix of traditional French butchers and foreigners often come together. Marché d’Aligre, Marché Bastille, and Paris’ many covered markets offer a wide variety of options of cured meats from regions across France as well as Italy, Portugal, Spain, and more.
No basket? No worries!
If you’re not planning on packing a picnic blanket and all the rest, you can still arrange for a bag lunch while on the go. The Paris street food scene has evolved and diversified enough that you no longer have to settle for a stale panini or lukewarm pizza from the boulangerie as a stand-in for lunch. In central Paris, Miznon should not be missed- their freshly baked pitas filled with bright vegetables and perfectly seasoned meat pair perfectly with a Seine-side lunch break. Chez Aline in the 11th arrondissement also takes sandwiches to another level with a selection of thoughtful, gourmet sandwiches and salads that are easily taken to go. Vegetarians will find an enticing selection of plant-based options at Green House, where French and Asian influences fuse in tidy take away options for a healthy delicious lunch.
Chez Aline by Rebecca Vasmant
And don’t forget dessert! There’s nothing easier, or more decadent, than enjoying an ice cream as you explore the cobblestones of Paris. You can find a great artisanal glace– with innovative flavors like Strawberry Hibiscus, and Turmeric- at Une Glace à Paris, which has shops in both Montmartre and the Marais. For an even more indulgent ice cream experience head to Boneshaker, whose menu includes doughnut ice cream sandwiches during the summer months.
Boneshaker Ice-Cream, by Boneshaker
Looking for the best places to go picnic? Click here.