Summary: Having a picnic at the Eiffel Tower is one of my favorite sightseeing activities in Paris. In this post, I’m sharing what I like to bring with, where to buy picnic items near the Eiffel Tower, and everything else you’ll want to know to plan your afternoon with the Iron Lady!
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There are a number of activities and things to do when it comes to visiting the Eiffel Tower. There are countless viewpoints you can see her from and you can even walk or ride up the Eiffel Tower to get a 360-degree view of Paris. However, I think the best way to see Paris’ Iron Lady is to spend an afternoon with her, having a picnic nearby.
I’ve seen some people go incredibly over-the-top with flowers, cushions, a long table set up for 12 of your closest friends, and more. While this looks lovely and I’d certainly never say no to an invitation to one of these tables, it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Best Places for a Picnic by the Eiffel Tower
The most iconic place for a picnic at the Eiffel Tower is Champ de Mars, the long, grassy park right behind the Eiffel Tower. This is a completely free area to bring picnic items to and spend the afternoon. When the weather is nice, there will always be people lounging in the grass and there are sometimes musical performers to listen to.
As the weather gets cooler, the grassy parts of this park are usually fenced off to avoid it getting trampled in the winter. If you come to the park and see these fences, you can still sit on a bench along the walkway, or make your way to another favorite picnic spot of mine.
I personally love to sit by the Seine River for a picnic with a view of the Eiffel Tower and Pont d’lena, the bridge that crosses the Seine and leads to the Eiffel Tower. If you cross the bridge walking away from the Eiffel Tower and make an immediate left, you’ll see stairs leading down to water level. We sat on the concrete here while eating lunch one day and it was perfect. It wasn’t crowded and we had an amazing view. Just be warned that there are ducks in this area that will want to share some of your food!
Where to Buy Food for a Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
You can always stop by a grocery store in the area you’re staying in and bring food to the Eiffel Tower, but there are also a few stores and markets nearby that you can get food from so you don’t have to carry it with you.
If you’re picnicking in Champ de Mars, there is a sandwich stand with lunch items in the park. However, I’d suggest buying a variety of items from a store or market nearby. I personally like to bring cured ham, cheese slices, a baguette, fresh fruit, and something sweet.
Across the Seine, there is a market called Marche de Passy which is a covered market open every day except Monday year-round. This might be a good option if you are eating at the spot I suggested on the Seine River as it’s on the same side of the river.
Sometimes, there are also outdoor markets in that same general area (16th arr.) in the warmer months, so be on the lookout for those as you can find some delicious, fresh food here.
The other option is a grocery store. There are several Franprix locations around the Eiffel Tower, including one on either side of Champ de Mars. These grocery stores have everything you’ll need from fruit, meat, and cheese, to sweets, to wine and Champagne.
Speaking of wine…
Can You Bring Alcohol to the Eiffel Tower?
The Secrets of Paris does a great job outlining the most recent regulations around alcohol in Paris and when/where you can/cannot have open alcohol in public. In short, you are not allowed to have open alcohol in certain areas from 4pm-7am. This includes Champ de Mars. Legally, you can picnic with wine here before 4pm.
That said, there are many people (myself included) who have had wine in Champ de Mars after this time and nothing happened. As long as you aren’t being a nuisance, you should be fine, but if you want to air on the safe side, have yourself a lunch picnic, or save the wine for later!
Also note that glass bottles aren’t technically allowed in either of the picnic spots I mentioned, but again, I’m not sure how well this is enforced. I didn’t know this rule in 2019 and we had glass at Champ de Mars. If you do end up bringing glass, be careful that it doesn’t break and you take it with you when you leave. No one wants a cut hand or foot when they’re trying to have a fun picnic at the Eiffel Tower!
Best Time to Have a Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
Of course, a picnic at the Eiffel Tower will always be more fun if the weather is nice. It’s always been autumn when I’ve visited Paris, so I’ve picnicked in September and November and both were a little chilly, but still very nice!
The summer months are definitely going to be more crowded, so if you want to avoid some of the crowds, but still want nice weather, April, May, September, and October would be great months to visit!
Like I mentioned above, if you want to have wine at your Eiffel Tower picnic, it’s best to plan a lunch picnic to stay within the alcohol regulations.
I also want to add here that this is one of the busiest places in all of Paris. There will likely be a lot of scammers and pickpockets around when you’re here, but if you’re aware of your surroundings and smart with how you handle yourself, you should be fine. Don’t get sucked into any of the little “shows” or “tricks” that the street performers are doing. A lot of times, they are doing these to distract you and someone else might come up and pickpocket you. I’m not someone that is constantly paranoid when I travel, and I hope this doesn’t scare you, but I just like to add this disclaimer in that you need to be aware of your surroundings when you’re here.
Don’t Want the Hassle? Try a Tour Instead!
If you don’t want to worry about gathering food, blankets, etc. for your picnic, Get Your Guide has a bike tour that takes you to different markets, collecting food along the way, and ends with a picnic at the Eiffel Tower! This would be an awesome way to see a few different areas of Paris, tour a market, meet people while you travel, and experience an Eiffel Tower picnic without any of the hassle.
I hope this post helps you plan your perfect Eiffel Tower picnic day and if it did, tag me in your picnic posts on Instagram. I’d love to live vicariously through you while you do one of my favorite Paris activities!