Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have a lot of money to enjoy Paris. This city is filled with free or inexpensive things to do. What's more, many of these budget activities are the best ways to experience Parisian life and culture. One of my favorite examples is picnicking in the park. Parisians love this activity and you can easily join in the fun, no entry fee required.
My favorite time to picnic in Paris is late afternoon/early evening on a warm summer day. The work day has ended, French families, couples and friends relax in the grass, and with a sun that doesn't set until 10pm or later, you can lounge for hours while taking in the historic beauty that surrounds you. Stake out your spot at one of Paris' seemingly countless parks and gardens: Luxembourg, Tuileries, and Champs du Mars are popular choices just perfect for people watching. Be sure to bring a blanket to sit on, some cheese and bread from the market, and every French person's picnic must-have, a bottle of wine. Follow these easy steps and you've got dinner, drinks, sightseeing, and local-observing covered for less than 10 euros.
Last Friday, an American friend and I set up our own French-style picnic in the Jardin des Tuileries not far from the main entrance to the Louvre. We munched on brie and baguette and washed it down with a refreshing Bordeaux. I couldn't believe our luck. Here we were, enjoying delicious French food and each other's company surrounded by magnificent gardens, marble statues, and the walls of one of the world's most gorgeous museums. There was even the Eiffel Tower off in the distance peeking over the trees. If you happen to find yourself in Paris this summer, don't miss out on this classic French activity. In a place known for it's fine dining, who knew that a simple meal could be so satisfying?