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18 delicious Paris summer dining ideas

We trawled the capital for the picnic baskets, food shops and outdoor restaurants...

The sun has finally got his hat on, which means only one thing: it's time to dine outside. We've scoured Paris for some really great options alfresco dining options, beautiful terraces or hidden leafy nooks. 

Picnic shopping is almost as pleasurable as eating it - browse our top markets and shops for the top-notch gourmet treats. Or if you fancy your picnic delivered - at the park, or at the canal - here are the best options for Parisian picnic hampers that will bring the goodness straight to you.

 

Alfresco restaurants in Paris

Cru

Opening a raw-food restaurant is a gamble, so the owners of Cru bend the rules here and there, offering root vegetable 'chips' and a few plancha dishes. Still, the extensive menu has plenty for the crudivore, such as some unusual carpaccios (the veal with preserved lemon is particularly good) and intriguing 'red' and 'green' plates, variations on the tomato and cucumber. The food is perfectly good, but the real reason to come here is the gorgeous courtyard terrace lurking behind this quiet Marais street.

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Le Marais

Le Moulin de la Galette

Montmartre was once peppered with flour-grinding windmills, and this modern restaurant (named after the Moulin de la Galette cabaret of which it was once a part) is set inside one of only two remaining mills – the other being private property just a few doors down on rue Lepic. A more more idyllic setting you will not find, with a sweet little courtyard draped in ivy. The food is contemporary French cuisine, such as pan-fried foie gras with lemongrass and juniper berries, or cochon de lait (suckling pig) with creamy potato purée...

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Montmartre

L'Entrepôt

Off the beaten tourist track, this multidisciplinary arts centre and cinema is known for its leftfield documentaries, shorts, gay repertoire and productions from developing nations.  Regular debates, poetry nights and concerts complete the programme. There's also a restaurant with a coveted garden terrace. Sit here in the summer and you feel blissfully cut off from the rest of Paris...

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Plaisance
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L'Endroit

There can't be a better spot in the old Batignolles village, with views over neo-classical Ste-Marie-des-Batignolles church, a cool thirtysomething crowd, decent wines, cocktails a go-go and excellent food that won't break the bank (€12 lunchtime menu)...

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Batignolles

Lasserre

Lasserre’s rich history is definitely a part of the dining experience: notables like Audrey Hepburn, André Malraux and Salvador Dali were regulars; it harboured Resistance fighters during the war; and it was while dining with Malraux that Marc Chagall decided to paint the ceiling for the Opera Garnier. But its illustrious past is nothing next to the food: chef Christophe Moret (ex-Plaza Athénée) and his pastry chef Claire Heitzler (ex-Ritz) create lip-smacking delicacies to die for...

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Champs-Elysées

Les 2 Etangs

The faithful attention to detail of the many owners of this quaint old building throughout the centuries has ensured that many of its original characteristics have been lovingly preserved, and as a result, Les 2 Etangs exudes a sense of wonder right from entering. The food at the restaurant – a gourmet range of fittingly traditional French favourites, with brunch served at weekends – and its gorgeous 20-acre grounds add to the chic, casual ambience further. The highly professional team are noted for their attentiveness, while a crackling open fireplace in the winter and a veranda on which to enjoy a pre-dinner drink in summer seal the deal.  

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16e arrondissement
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Markets bursting with fresh produce

Marché d'Aligre

Recommended

Your experience of the market depends largely on where you go: the top of the street is where to head for seasonal fruit and veg (€1-3/kg), whereas a detour through the covered Beauveau market will take you through the pricier fishmongers’ and butchers’ stalls. Don’t miss the motley collection of books, African masks and other trinkets that line the artisanal stands in the main yard...  

The picnic spot: From here, walk along the Coulée Verte (atop the Viaduc des Arts) to modern Parc de Reuilly, with its fizzy public water fountain.

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12e arrondissement

Marché Monge

The lowdown: This pretty, compact market is set on a leafy square. It has a high proportion of producers and is much less touristy than nearby rue Mouffetard. The breads here are particularly good, and if you don't fancy traditional picnic staples (cheese, paté and wine) you'll find stall hawking spicy Asian nibbles, ready-to-eat Lebenese dishes and Creole curries.

The picnic spot: From here, it's just a few minutes walk to Jardin des Plantes, where you can nab a park bench, or head to the Arènes de Lutèce – a peaceful public garden set in a former Roman arena.

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5e arrondissement

Marché Mouffetard

Recommended

This 'wonderful, narrow crowded market street', as Hemingway described it in 'A Moveable Feast', still sports bright and bustling stalls of fruit and veg in its cobbled lower stretches, its atmospheric buildings making it one of the city’s loveliest street markets. Many grocers – also hawking charcuterie, patés, seafood, cheeses and sticky patisseries – only select organic and fair-trade goods. On Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings, Mouffetard’s stalls run into the Marché Monge...

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Quartier latin
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Marché Bastille

Recommended

One of the biggest markets in Paris, the Marché Bastille's food stalls sprawl up the Boulevard Richard Lenoir twice a week, with more produce than most hypermarkets – it's a particularly great source of local cheeses, free range chicken and excellent fish. The atmospheric and beautiful piles of fruit, veg, saucisses, olives and so on are interspersed with stalls offering African batiks, cheap jewellery and bags, but that doesn't detract from the overall sense of bountiful goodness...

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Roquette

Saxe-Breteuil

The lowdown: Saxe-Breteuil has an unrivalled setting facing the Eiffel Tower; it also has the city's most chic produce. Look for farmers' goats' cheese, rare apple varieties, Armenian specialities, abundant oysters and a handful of dedicated small producers.

The picnic spot: When your basket is full, spread your blanket on the Champs de Mars and tuck into your feast under the Eiffel Tower's iron gaze.

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Ecole Militaire

Delicious picnic baskets delivered to you

Jour - the healthy option

Jour - the healthy option

In France, picnics often mean chacuterie, cheese, and bread, bread, bread. Which is, of course, wonderful - but our stomachs do need a break from time to time. Enter Jour, the healthy option for hungry Parisians. 

There are seveal signature salads to choose from Crunchy Niçoise (with a juicy tuna fillet, organic hard-boiled egg, and the pinkest radishes), Rainbow Caprese (organic creamy burrata, green tomates and rocket), Sweet Italy (farmhouse chicken, artichokes, dried figs, cherry tomatoes etc.) and the festive Summer Time (watermelon, cantelope, feta, cucumber, mint, olives). Yeah, we're peckish now too.

There's also light wraps, desserts, energy bars, and matcha green teas. 

How much? A picnic basket costs €29.90, and individual salads are €8.90. 

Delivery? Yes, all over Paris to a specified address or a pick-up point in a Jour shop. 

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Frichti - tasty elegance

Frichti - tasty elegance

Say good buy to awkwardly chopping saucisson or Tupperware leftovers, with Frichti's elegant options for picnic dining. 

With baguettes from Éric Kayser boulangerie, yoghurts from Jean-Yves Bordier, pastrami from Schwartz's Deli, tartinade from Les Niçois - you can literally taste you way around Paris via Frichti providers. 

Plus, the seagrass bag that the food comes in, is a real keeper - either for future picnics or as a chic beach bag. In their big formulas, there's even anti-bacterial handgel. They really think of everything...

How much? Formulas from €18. €28 for a 4-person picnic.

Delivery? Even to Parisian parks. Just give them your desired address, they do the rest. Order within one hour windows, from 12pm to 3.30pm.

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Le Burgundy Paris - 5* meals on wheels

Le Burgundy Paris - 5* meals on wheels

If you really want to go all out, you go to the best. Le Burgundy Paris is a hip hotel in the 1st arrondissement, a stone's throw from Rue Saint Honoré, Place Vendôme etc. The Liberty picnic is created by the hotel's team of chefs, is quite simply, a notch above the rest. 

A menu for two comprises: Homemade lemonade infused with violet syrup; Dorado tartare with cauliflower purée; smoked eel with potato salad;, rice pudding with acacia honey, granola, bluberry confits; roasted apricot, almonds and lavander cake to share. And more, and more...you get the idea it's rather posh. 

How much? €135

Delivery? Yes, wherever you wish - by some of the hotel's snappily dressed grooms. Le Liberty picnic is available from June 15 to September. Call 01 42 60 34 12 to book.

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Best shops for picnic food

Maison Plisson

Covering 500 square metres, it contains two spaces: to one side, a small food hall full of fresh produce and fine French ingredients. To the other, a restaurant where the foodstuffs on display are transformed into delicious dishes by chef Bruno Doucet. It’s open all day, seven days a week, but that doesn’t mean a reduction in quality – it’s worth queuing. Pick a place at the long bar next to the window...

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Le Marais

La Grande Epicerie de Paris

Recommended

This temple of good taste is located on the ground floor of Le Bon Marché, Paris’s oldest department store, where its bakery, patisserie, butcher’s and cheese shop will all urge you to give in to gourmet temptation. Prices depend on the age and origin of the product, so you can just as easily enjoy a delicious pistachio macaroon for two euros as bankrupt yourself for a bottle of olive oil. The main advantage of this great grocery is the incredible diversity and exclusivity of its products. Red salt from Hawaii, truffle tagliatelle, rosewater infusions, bergamot-scented financier biscuits...

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Rennes-Sèvres

L'Epicerie Générale

Recommended

Feeling that Paris was in urgent need of an organic fine food store, Maud, Claude and Lucio decided to open L’Epicerie Générale in February 2011. Here, environment-conscious gourmands can enjoy cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, vegetables, Hennequin preserves – gourmet and ethical products. Many products also have a social consciousness, like the ‘Miel Béton’ (‘concrete honey’), made on the roofs of Saint Denis by ‘Le Parti Poétique’, which raises awareness about the extinction of bees...

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Saint-Georges
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Fédération Française de l'Apéritif

Finally a French Federation (read: shop/bar) dedicated to that most important of post-work rituals, the aperitif. Move beyond the fashionable midnight blue shopfront and tricolore logo and you’ll find a large refrigerated counter filled with cheeses and cured meats from various small producers. On the shelves, meanwhile, there’s a wide range of treats like pâtés from Label Rouge le Fougeray (€4.90), or for the really brave, crunchy insects from Jimini’s...

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Poissonnière

Terra Gourma

Delicatessan fans will be in heaven with over 200m2 of beautiful jars, bottles and tins to peruse. Personally seeking out the finest providers from across France, and beyond. To boot, these artisans have chosen to work with Terra Gourma exclusively; meaning there are some products here that you won't even find in France, let alone Paris...

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Paris Saint Bière

Is there a lovelier beer shop in the capital than Paris Saint Bière? If so, the honour surely goes to its sister venue, situated around the corner on Rue de Charonne. Between them, the pair stock an extraordinary range of brews from Belgium, Germany, the UK and France, alongside novelty brands from the likes of Senegal and Jamaica. The owner's catalogue extends to over 2,000 varieties, including some of the world's rarest...

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Roquette
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L'Epicerie du Verre Volé

Recommended

‘Buffalo mozzarella, pesto Genovese and grilled artichokes’, ‘home made potted tuna, capers, artichokes and radishes’, ‘brawn with vinaigrette, sweet onions and Polish cornichons'... Even though it might seem like it, you’re not reading a high-end bistro menu – this is the list of sandwiches at l’Epicerie du Verre Volé...

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Saint-Ambroise

La Crèmerie

Recommended

Customers stop into La Crèmerie for the company as much as for the great cheeses. Shop owner Dominique used to be a nurse so is a past master at cheerful chat (and watching calorie counts). French cheeses are her speciality, from a colourful wheel of wildflower Tomme from the Austrian Alps to Black Brie from Île de France, Saint-Félicien from Isère, small goats cheeses coated in cranberries from the Dordogne and many more...

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Canal Saint-Martin

Causses

Causses, SoPi’s (SouthPigalle) new alimentation general extraordinaire, feels like an urban farm shop, offering a winning formula of simple quality, seasonal, produce (fruit ‘n’ veg, hams and cheeses), gourmet preserves and take-away breads, sandwiches and salads.  If you’re into your OJ, there’s a fill your own bottle area next to the orange squeezing machine...

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Saint-Georges
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La Cure Gourmande

Had Willy Wonka decided to launch a biscuit chain it may well have looked like La Cure Gourmande. There is something irresistibly over-the-top about the shop’s turn-of-the-century-style tins, boxes and baskets, brimming with cookies, bonbons and chocolates. From the moment the vanilla scent hits you, you’re hooked; then the seller suggests you try the biscuit of the day. Before you know you’ve polished off a couple and you’re leaving, guilty grin in tow, with beautifully-packaged boxes of shortbread, gingerbread and dark chocolate truffles...

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Bercy

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