Monday, May 3, 2010

Picnic on the Seine

One of my favorite spring/summer/fall activities in Paris is having a picnic on the Seine.  In my opinion it is one of the true pleausres of this city.  It's something you could never experience in the US because, even if you can easily find a beautiful place in the US to picnic, you can never do it with wine!  As soon as the weather starts to get nice, I am begging people to picnic on the Seine and looking for excuses to do just that. 

In my opinion, it is an activity in which everyone should partake if they want that truly Parisian experience.  What can be better than sitting along the river, watching the sun set and the lights of Paris turn on, reflecting off the water?  I even have a favorite spot...just past the end of Ile de la Cité on the Rive Gauche so I can see between Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis and enjoy the lights of Hôtel de Ville while also enjoying the lights on the magnificent butresses of Notre Dame.  For me, this is heaven in Paris.  I could go every weekend and I would never get tired of it! 

my adorable husband and Notre Dame

Everyone swears by the Pont des Arts for summertime picnics, but I hate going there because the police are always there asking people to stop drinking.  On the quais it is peaceful, the police don't care, there is more space for people, and the views are better (you can't really enjoy Notre Dame from the Pont des Arts).  Not to mention that once summer comes there are small dances held along the quais on the Rive Gauche near l'Institut du Monde Arabe.  They set up speakers and people dance...I've seen everything from salsa to ballroom dancing!  And there is the Musée de la sculpture en plein air to wander through.  My vote will always be for the quais!

picnic on the Seine

So, to celebrate my friend Jasmin's birthday on Saturday, a bunch of us headed to the quais to picnic and drink and enjoy the last bit of semi nice weather while we could.  It wasn't supposed to rain until midnight, so we met up at 6pm for apéros and then dinner and drinks along the river.  We enjoyed Bloody Marys (a recipe I have recently mastered), wine, charcuterie, cheese, baguette, pasta salad and a bunch of other stuff while relaxing along the river and enjoying the sights and sounds of Paris.  There were a lot of people out and we got to listen to groups playing music...the guitar, the saxophone, a flute, etc.  We waved to the tourists on the Bateaux Mouches, we talked to another group that was celebrating a birthday and since it only rained for 5 minutes at midnight we were able to stay out until about 3am!

my husband, Jasmin and Marybeth enjoying some wine

I couldn't have imagined a better way to spend the evening...until my friend Marybeth got her purse stolen and we spent the rest of the evening at the commissariat de police trying to call her banks and phone company.  If it hadn't been for that one, little problem it would have been a perfect night!

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