Perfect French Picnic

French Up Your Picnic AlinaKolot

There’s nothing more romantic than a picnic in every sense of the word whether it be with your sweetheart or simply the wonderful people you love in your life. Picture yourself under the shade of the trees, dappled sunlight twinkling, a soft breeze caressing your face, snacking on delicious fresh food, sipping a little champagne or eau minerale. All you need is one more thing … Paris, or a little Gallic style. Here are a few ways to create the perfect picnic.

Audrey in Paris

Create the perfect French picnic with baguette

The French baguette with its soft fluffy centre and crunchy crust is essential to French up your picnic. Wrap it in a beautiful quality French tea towel, place it on an old wooden board, bring along a bread knife and it will be the staple of your afternoon. Cut it into thin slices to plaster with your French cheeses or other spreads, or into longer slices to make rolls.

Tip: To test if your baguette is the real deal, don’t worry about its smell, nor its colour, but listen to its crunch … perfection is in ‘the symphony of the crackle’ (from Ratatouille).

french up your picnic
The secret of a good baguette? It’s in the crust … don’t smell, don’t feel, simply listen for the ‘Symphony of the crackle’.

Create the perfect French picnic with a beautiful tablecloth

To French up your picnic with that sense of traditional vintage style, pack a beautiful tablecloth to lay out your spread such as our ethically made Bonjour Diary tablecloths. If the ground is a little damp bring a ground sheet. Napkins, a few pillows, shady trees and you will feel like you are in a Renoir painting.

A vintage style French tablecloth for a classic French picnic.

Create the perfect French picnic with fromage ~ Camembert or French Blue

Did you know there are between 350 to 450 types of French cheeses categorised into eight groups or les huit familles de fromage? A soft ripened Camembert such as a Camembert de Normandie and a blue such as a Bleu d’Auvergne or the ancient Roquefort¬†will slide over that gorgeous crusty baguette like a match made in heaven. Visit a local Farmer’s Market or specialist delicatessen to find authentic French fromage or simply visit the cheese section of your supermarket.

French up yr picnic with more cheese
A soft French cheese will slide over your crusty baguette top create a match made in heaven.

Create the perfect French picnic with Rustique rattan

A little rattan gives a French picnic that authentic rustique style as well as being practical. Carry your napkins, condiments or sweet treas in an Olli Ella piki, and your fresh fruit in an Olli Ella Apple Basket.

Add a little vintage style to your picnic with an Olli Ella Piki or Apple basket.


The origin of the picnic

Fun fact: according to experts, the picnic has been around for centuries and was first coined by the French based on the verb piquer, meaning to pick or peck, and in particular it described the act of a group of people meeting at a restaurant and bringing their own wine. Perhaps the famous Renoir painting  A luncheon of the Boating Party documented what was one of the forerunners of the picnic as we know it today.

Renoir a Luncheon of the boating party
Auguste Renoir: Luncheon of the Boating Party


Create the perfect French picnic with Rillette, olives and dips

Found in jars at farmers markets, or specialist stores, Rillette is a rustique moorish rough styled pate that accompanies the baguette as comfortably as old friends. Added with Cornichons (miniscule pickles), olives and dips, and of course quiche and you have a perfect feast.

A French Picnic with olives from Lorgues - Little French Heart
Olives, tapenade and dips from the market in Lorgues, in the south west of Provence.


Create the perfect French picnic with Champagne

What’s a picnic without French champagne? The pop of the cork, the soft pearl of the bubbles tingling on your tongue, the sweet light feeling as you sip while devouring your baguette with rillette, cheeses and cornichon. The only sparkling wines in the world that can attract this name are those from France produced in Champagne. Not all French champagne is expensive and you can often pick up a really good bottle without at places like Aldi’s, which with its origins in Germany, has a reasonable selection of European wines. If you want to go all out there are so many to choose from – just make sure that you can keep it cold, and take along real glasses. There is nothing more pleasurable than drinking champagne in out of a champagne glass.

French Champagne for a truly French picnic by ParisBreakfast
French champagne for a very French chic picnic: artist Carol Gillet, Paris Breakfast

Sweet treats and fresh fruit

Keep it simple. A selection of sweet French macarons in all their varied delicious flavours will create a delightful addition to the picnic fare Place a napkin in an Olli Ella piki and surprise your guest/s with the sweetest melt-inyour-mouth treats. If you’re not sure where to find them try your local bakery or perhaps La Belle Miette.

Macaroons AnnStreetStudio
Tres jolie … the prettiest sweetest French picnic. Image Jamie Beck & Co.


Similarly, in preparing a platter of fruit think of the impressionists like Cezanne. Pack apples, oranges, pears, cherries … and you have the perfect French picnic.

What would you include to create the perfect French picnic?

Cezanne fruit-bowl-pitcher-and-fruit-1894.jpg!Large
Perhaps for the perfect French picnic all we really need is a bowl of fruit and a pitcher de l’eau. Cezanne, 1984.