I can tell you the first French Picnic did not look like this! To say it was a bit more rustic is an understatement!
I’ll have to take you back to 1990 to be exact. I was 27 and it was my first trip to Europe. Mark and I both had work in Germany so we flew all night to get to Frankfurt, hopped in a car, and drove to Paris. After all, I’d been dreaming of this day since I was 5 years old.
My parents had taken a 3 week trip to Europe and came back with so many stories of faraway places, but nothing captured my imagination more than their first stop in Paris. I’d waited 22 years and could not get to Paris fast enough!
I have this visual burned in my mind of Mark and I packed in this tiny car going round and round the Arc de Triomphe Roundabout, completely lost. Remember maps and travel agents? I do! Me with a tiny address scribbled on a piece of paper and a map of the city of Paris spread on the dashboard, where could this hotel be anyway?
Turns out the teeny, not-so-nice hotel, was on an obscure 1-lane street, deep in the Montmartre area. Montmartre has its charm but it’s remote somewhat seedy and it took us about 4 hours to find the hotel. No one had heard of the street or the hotel, leaving me wondering still today with all of the lodging available in Paris how did that travel agent even find this place??
So here I am in Paris after a 22-year wait, a 9-hour flight a 7-hour drive, and 4 hours to find this dank room, and guess who fell face-first into the bed? Mark, I mean who could blame him? This was my dream, not his!
I was like, “what?.” We aren’t going out to explore when we only have 2 days in this city? But my spirit was not dampened even though come to find out, I should have been a little worried about the neighborhood. I snuck out of the room for a quick look around before the sun disappeared behind the sea of 7-story buildings to see what I could find to eat. Maybe a Mcdonald’s or Taco Bell, umm no.
I managed to find a patisserie that had warm ham and cheese croissants and a discount store that had cartons of food piled high with the fronts of each box cut out to reveal their contents. I found chocolate, some fruit, tiny sweet biscuits, and a bottle of warm champagne. Back at the hotel, I managed a bucket of ice and by the time the sun had set, we were feasting on the first French Picnic.
Mark and I have been lucky enough to travel many times to France and other European destinations and every time, we always plan a night for a “French Picnic”. I know we did not invent this concept but it’s our thing, it’s our family’s thing and it’s an A Taste of Paris thing.
Every single group I’ve taken with me to France has experienced a French Picnic. I always host it at the hotel we are staying in. Sometimes in a beautiful garden, or in the hotel lobby, either way, it’s my little nod to that very first night in the City of Light.
Sure I’d have rather been out painting Paris red white and blue that night, but if that had been the case, I’d not have a lifetime of precious memories to warm my heart. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from the French is that life is about the special moments that can happen anywhere. Even the mundane can bring so much joy if you’ll allow it.
It’s been so many years since I’ve been able to share this little slice of Paris with travelers so I decided to create fancy Picnic Baskets to commemorate Bastille Day, you can have one too!
Bastille Day French Picnic Baskets for July 14th-July 16th Pick-up from 10:00 am -6:00 pm
Reserve your basket TODAY- only 8 baskets are still available.
Schedule pick-up time for a basket for 2 or a basket for 4
Planning a Bastile Day celebration or simply a unique date experience? My French Picnic Baskets are the ideal answer to delight your sweetheart or special friends. Pick up baskets at your desired time and enjoy a picnic in the park or as the French do, on the carpet! C’est Magnifique!!
Each French Picnic will be packed in a Lined Straw Basket and include: Wooden Cheese Board, Cloth Napkins, and wooden cutlery
Each basket will be packed with the following:
–1 bottel of French Crémant– your choice, Brut or Brute Rosé
–Fresh French Baquette
–Fresh Cultured Butter
–Homemade Fruit Jam
–3 Kinds of Cheese
–3 Types of Meat
–Gruyere Tomato Basil Tartlets
–Olives and Cornichion
–2 Kinds of Madeleines, Chocolate, and Orange Blossom
Au revoir for now! Hope to see your smiling face soon!