Top 5 Markets to Pick up a Bottle for your Paris Picnic (with list of nearby picnic parks!)

bottles Picnic season is upon us and now that the sun is shining we want to get straight to the closest bit of grass or park bench that we can find. During this season, normally modest Parisians have no problem baring their skin and stripping down at the first site of sun, which makes for a whole different kind of people watching during the warmer months. Rolled up sleeves, exposed midriffs, pants secured well above calf level- it's a veritable flesh fest and anyone who has lived a calendar year in Paris knows why- in this beautiful, grey city, there is nothing as precious as a ray of sun.

It goes without saying that during these sunny days you have no time to waste between picking up your crudités and finding a decent bottle of rosé or bière blanche. Thankfully there's your friendly neighborhood market, of which a handful offer not only a selection of fruits and vegetables, but also bottles of picnic-appropriate booze.

Armed with a trusty corkscrew and these five addresses, your picnic season is guaranteed to be a success!

Heirloom vegetables at Joël Thiébault's stand at Marché Président Wilson

Marché Président Wilson: Not only is this market home to two local farmers (including superstar producteur Joël Thiébault) here you can also find a stand selling a selection of wines, some are even natural/organic! Pair your rosé with some of Thiébault's heirloom carrots and radish varieties and you'll go down in picnic history.

Le Parc: Trocadéro Gardens- you're already this close to La Tour Eiffel you might as well just soak it in. Head to the bit of greenery on opposite bank of the besieged monument, where you're close enough for an excellent view, but far enough from the mob to (hopefully) not have your cellphone or wallet stolen.

Wines at Marché Bourse

Marché Bourse: This is a handy market if you're prone to get a late start. One of the few markets that are open late, Marché Bourse is great for hot food (it's a favorite lunch spot for people who work in the neighborhood) and organic wine. Don't get your hopes up for fresh produce at this farmer-free market, but you're guaranteed to find a bottle that will suit your picnic needs and a hot lunch to go with.

Le Parc: A bit of a trek, but worth the trip, Tuileries Garden is a perfect spot for a picnic. Pull up a chair near one of the fabulous fountains or find a more intimate spot in the statue-filled gardens.

en vrac

Marché La Chapelle: Marché La Chapelle, or "Marché de l'Olive" as locals call it, is the former home of the now brick and mortar En Vrac which has moved just down the street, onto the place that extends the reach of this popular neighborhood market. Here you can fill up a reusable bottle of wine (added benefit: no need for a corkscrew!) or buy a more traditional bottle. All wines are natural and exceptional.

Le Parc: Grab a bike and take a quick ride to the Parc de la Villette, whose huge expanses of grass are host to a variety of happenings during the spring and summer months, including outdoor concerts, open-air cinema, and other cultural events.

marché st quentin

Marché St. Quentin: This covered market, which is open both mornings and into the late afternoon, has everything you need for an ethnically diverse picnic, with the Italian deli counter and Portuguese specialty stand standing out as particularly interesting self-catering options. The market is also home to Bierissime a cave à bière stocked with domestic and international craft beer.

Le Parc: Formerly a part of a convent and hospital, the Jardin Villemin is now a public space located next to canal St. Martin. The garden contains a shared community garden as well as a diverse collection of tree and plant varieties- an oasis of nature amidst the train stations and street traffic of this busy quartier.

Jardin Villemin, 75010

Marché Baudoyer: On Wednesdays Marché Baudoyer stays open until dusk, leaving you plenty of time to visit central Paris and then pick up picnic provisions before the sun sets. Home to one wine vendor, who has a selection of natural wines, the market also serves portions of paella, crêpes, and other street food that will pull together your picnic.

Le Parc:  It's not technically a park- but you can't be this close to the Seine without having a picnic on its banks! Head to the closest quai or make your way to the Ile St. Louis and join the satisfied sunbathers as they enjoy a hard-earned spring.

Marché Baudoyer

Eating & Drinking in Paris: Le Grand 8

Close enough to Montmartre to guarantee charming stroll options for before and after dinner, but just enough off the beaten track to avoid feeling like, or surrounded by, tourists, you'll find Le Grand 8. Bread & Wine at Le Grand 8

I love a restaurant whose wine list leads with the winemakers, their names in bold print followed by the details such as appellation and annéeSo I swooned at Le Grand 8's wine menu which featured all star natural wine makers including Thierry Puzelat, Belluard, and a recent favorite, Noëlla Morantin.

Extensive natural wines to chose from on the wine list at Le Grand 8

I wasn't surprised at such a list, though. While visiting his vineyard in the Loire, Christophe Foucher, winemaker at La Lunotte, recommended that we check out this restaurant once we got back to Paris and I had a feeling we would be in for a wine treat once we went.

It took us awhile to follow up on Christophe's advice (the restaurant's sporadic operating hours didn't help), but we finally made it to Le Grand 8, looking for a hot meal on one of Paris' recent frigid evenings.

Noëlla Morantin's "Mon Cher"

We tucked into a typically tiny Parisian table and had so much fun picking the wine that we forgot about the food. Settling on a bottle of Morantin's Gamay-based "Mon Cher", we switched our attention to the entrées (9€), plats (19€) and deserts (7€).

While the food had initially been overshadowed by the wine, further inspection revealed that it all sounded rather appetizing. We decided to take advantage of the entrée-plat menu (25 €).

Split pea and onion confit soup

My monsieur started his meal with a split pea and oignons confits soup accompanied with  smoked bacon- a perfect remedy to a cold winter's day that inspired me to make my own split pea soup later that week.

My plat was scallops served with a mushroom risotto, simply prepared and reasonably fresh. Le Grand 8 is one of the few French restaurants I've seen with salt & pepper on the table. This small detail seems to reveal a certain ethos and lack of pretension at this restaurant, where the wine draws you in and the food warms you up.

Vivent les Vins Libres!

Le Grand 8, 8 rue Lamarck 75018

Hours: Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat- open for dinner; Sunday open for lunch and dinner

(reservations are recommended, as is calling in advance to make sure they are open as operating hours seem to change)

Eating & Drinking in Paris: Le Verre Volé Cave and Epicerie

Cosy and neighborhoody, Le Verre Volé is one of my favorite restaurants in Paris. Their menu changes with the seasons and the wine list favors matching natural wines. I'll often stop by the Verre Volé to pick up a bottle of wine to go- but these mealtime visits are troublesome because they are both torturously mouthwatering  (it is hors de question to grab a table on a whim- reservations are a must) and cut short due to the fact that the sommelier doubles as server and is rushing around the small space with plates and bottles, menus and wine suggestions.

Luckily, Le Verre Volé has opened two outposts in response to the overflow of eager oenophiles and visitors with a ventre vide.

Le Varre Volé's cave à vins is located on rue Oberkampf and is equipped with a large selection of natural wines as well as a friendly staff who is happy to help you choose the right bottle for any occasion. As a novice natural wine lover, I was happy to discover a new address to get a fix, and one with so many bottles I had never seen before! I was really just there to look, but ended up making up a meal for the sommelier to match a wine with. There is a wide selection of wines under 15 euro and I ended up with Thierry Puzelat's Clos du Tue-Bouef a Gamay and Pinot Noir blend from Cheverny.

Just around the corner, on rue de la Folie Méricourt you'll find Le Verre Volé's épicerie. This small store is stocked with artisinal French products including regional mustards and dried beans and oils and vinegars as well as natural French-made fruit juices and jams. They also have the artisinal and all-natural ice cream brand, Terre adélice which I have only seen in a few places, such as the Marché Couvert Beauvau.

The épicerie also has a sandwich counter where fresh deli meats and cheeses are folded into fresh baguettes to make exceptional sandwiches that can be eaten at the large table in the store, while reading the available literature on natural wines and biodynamie or wrapped up and taken to go, to enjoy as you visit the nearby Marché Popincourt or make your way to enjoy Absolution products at L'echappée Spa.

Le Verre Volé bistro & cave à vins

67 rue Lancry, 75010. Open 7 days a week- reservations required

Le Verre Volé cave à vins

38 rue Oberkampf, 75011. Call for hours, usually open starting from 16h.

Le Verre Volé épicerie

54 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011. Monday: 16-20h, Tues-Sat: 11-20h30, Sun: 10-13h.