Paris Tips: 4 Romantic Picnic Spots with Regal Appeal
By Theadora Brack
Incelebration of Leap Year, come hither! Let’s give a smouldering nod to the late, great Éric Rohmer and his movie Les Rendezvous de Paris. Lights! Camera! Action!
Here are a few of my favorite rendezvous-worthy places, squares and gardens in Paris, along with the statues that bring them to life.
1. Place du Trocadéro
Place du Trocadéro, 16th arrondissement
At the fab Trocadéro, you’ll find one of my favorite views of the Eiffel Tower. Let’s first share a brownie and a soda pop at the bustling Café Carlu nestled inside the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. Hands-down, this is my new happy place! I think you’re going to dig the bookshop, too.
2. Place Dalida
The tip of rues Girardon and Abreuvoir, 18th arrondissement (Métro Abbesses)
Pilgrims from all over the world flock to the impressive bust of Dalida (the female Elvis of France) and touch her for luck! By the way, the pop diva’s house is located nearby on rue d’Orchampt, and her grave is in the Cimetière de Montmartre. (Katy Perry’s fireworks got nothing on you, Dalida!)
3. Jardin des Tuileries
1st arrondissement (Métro Concorde)
Next stop! Let’s meet at Métro Concorde, and then we’ll pick up reading material at the W.H. Smith Book Shop. For inspiration, let’s not forget the Jardin de Tuileries gift shop either. How green does your garden grow?
Flashback: Created by Catherine de Médici (with a slight Italian flair) in the 16th century, the Jardin de Tuileries wasgiven a redo by landscape architect André Le Nôtre during the Sun King’s reign. After the Big Wigs’ big move to Versailles, it became one of the first public parks.
Sadly, this was also where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were held prisoners during the French Revolution. At that time, due to years of neglect, the gardens were rampant with duckweed, prostitution, and angry mobs.
Fast forward: Cafés, chairs, and one hundred statues (including many by Maillol) now seductively tempt. Writer Henry Valentine Miller made no secret of his profound attraction of the bronzes.
“No appointments, no invitations for dinner, no program, no dough. . . sitting down on a bench and squeezing my guts to stop the gnawing or walking through the Jardin des Tuileries getting an erection looking at the dumb statues.” Oh, sigh. It’s Miller, after all!
4. Square du Vert-Galant
Tip of the Île de la Cité, Ist Arrondissement
(Métro Pont Neuf)
Let’s now stroll on over to another favorite centuries-old romantic hotspot, le Square du Vert-Galant at the tip of the Île de la Cité. Created by King Henri IV, its spectacular view of la Seine and currents crashing into its banks still move the rendezvous-ers, so hold on tight while I straighten your trench coat collar.
Along the way, we’ll pick up a compact but oh so filling crêpe fromage! I’m not the first to propose the tip of the Île de la Cité as the perfect spot for a little pic-a-necking, and I certainly won’t be the last.
Meet Henri: For the love of vitality, admiration, and gossip, Parisians gave the little tear-drop-shaped park the flamboyant King Henri IV’s nickname, “Vert-Galant,” or “Gay Blade,” since he was larger than life, compassionate, wildly loved, and quite the looker back in the day.
Mad about music, wine and women, Henri would horse around here in the park after dark with his friends, entertainers, and favorite mistress, Gabrielle d’Estrée. Love was in the air. Love is still in the air.
As Henri IV liked to say, “Great cooking and great wines make a paradise on earth!”
Most inspiring and incredicble photographs. You are amazing!
Ah! Thanks, Tin Man! What swell words. Blushing, here! Theadora
Merci, beaucoup…for the lovely (again) tour of Paris. I would love to see it (I have only been ‘au sud’), mais alors, I am disabled and cannot travel any longer. So, Theodora, each of your posts fills me with cheer, as I see what you have seen.
Goodness, I feel the same way about your site. I always find inspiration in your lovely posts. Thanks for sharing the E. E. Cummings poem and gorgeous pic of the rain-soaked fat cobblestones. What a perfect way to celebrate spring’s early. “in Just-. spring when the world is mud-. luscious” Indeed! Thanks for your kind words! Theadora
Merci…merci, beaucoup…but I am simply an American, driven old-lady photographer…transferring my own past to you, the younger generation.
BTW: your posts are en francais, “mervailleaux!
Reblogged this on French Heritage Club.
En vrai Parisien (exilé!) j’apprécie vraiment ces photos. Pendant trois ans j’ai vécu près des Tuileries (Rue Croix des Petits Champs). Il y a, pas très loin de là, de nombreuses rues et galleries romantiques et intéressantes… Aaaaahhh… Dalida, sa statue est superbe! Un plaisir.
Hello! Croix des Petits Champs, I know it well–my best friend edited his last film (Mana Beyond Belief!) at a studio there called TeleEurope, very near the Place de Victoires! I love that part of the city! It’s a window shopper’s heaven. Paradise! Theadora
You brought us to see so many lovely places in Paris!
Every time I come to see you, I feel like to need to catch the next Eurostar train for Paris!
Dear London Caller, I feel the same way about your travel site. Your shots are always gorgeous. Striking! Theadora
Great post, Theadora! You’re making me long for Paris even more. I was last at the PLACE DU TROCADÉRO with my sister 2 years ago when it was freezingly cold and at the JARDIN DE TUILERIES many summers ago with my husband when it was so warm and dusty but the garden was just so beautiful.
I haven’t seen Paris yet in spring so I’m pretty curious…. 😉
Thanks, Malou! Yes, the Jardin de Tuileries is very dusty spot. And let me tell you, it wreaks havoc on my tall black riding boots! So I carry a mini-shoe shine kit in my bag for my “promenading” emergencies. Lion candy bars, too! Theadora
Have been to 3 out of 4, not bad 😀 Trocadero was very nice to see the Eiffel Tower at night!
Thanks, Diana! Impressive! Did you have a favorite? My other favorite spots for viewing the Eiffel Tower are the Sacré Coeur (near the Wallace fountain) and the Palais de Tokyo. Especially on a clear night! Theadora
I think my favorite is Jardin des Tuileries but I love all of them!
As you mentioned the Wallace fountain, have you seen the Wallace collection in London? It’s one of my favorite places in all of London 🙂
Hi Diana! Yes, Sir Richard Wallace’s Hertford House, Manchester Square is on my list! I’ve seen photographs of the collection. It’s amazing! And there’s fountain on the grounds.“Les fontaines Wallace” are also beautiful. And of course, I love the story. How kind of Sir Richard to finance the installation of 50 fountains throughout Paris after the Franco-Prussian War left the city with almost no clean drinking water. I think there are about 100 scattered around Paris today. My favorite is located next to the Métro Abbesses station. Now I’m thirsty! Cheers! Theadora
Great tour of Paris, thank you. All great pictures. 🙂
Thank you! As you know, I’m a big fan work! Theadora (I loved that flying pig shot!)
Thank you 🙂
Just gorgeous photos! Wish I could visit there. Perhaps one day. ;0
Thanks! You’d love the vintage clothing shop scene. And the flea markets and brocantes. Eclectic collections and affordable prices! Theadora (I just scored an old “Galeries Lafayette” department store box from the 1930s. It’s a beauty. And cost just a few euros! Theadora
Love the Jardin de Tuilleries! Missing Paris, time to go back and visit.
You had me with your name, Theadora. Your style of writing is a delight to read. Once again I am back in Paris and seeing it anew with Theadora eyes.
Ah, thank you for your kind words! I love your site. Your newly-acquired Arc de Triomphe cookie jar is quite the looker. What a great find! I’m jealous. While running around Paris, I always carry at least one cookie in my bag. I love the meringue. I’m also fond of the jelly-filled powdered lunettes, florentines, and macarons. I also dig the sandy “sablé.” I’m now hungry for a snack! Where’s my bag?! Theadora