Eiffel Tower at night

Let’s talk about picnics. I love picnics. And I love Paris. And when I’m in Paris I love to have picnics. It just so happens that Parisians enjoy le pique-nique too. I love seeing the locals sitting on the banks of the Seine, taking in the view with a bottle of wine and some snacks, or picnicking in one of the lovely little parks around this beautiful city.

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Sometimes we’ve even had picnics in the pouring rain, sitting on the floor of our apartment with the ceiling to floor windows open wide and the still staggering views of the city taking our breath away.

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It’s fun to have an impromptu picnic in Paris, and a quick run through Monoprix can have you completely sorted in just a few minutes. You can even rent a bottle and fill it with vin rouge or maybe a rosé for a mere €2.50 if you don’t want to spend €7 on a bottle of wine!

Monoprix wine dispenser Monoprix wine machine

I’m obsessed with these machines and the cool looking bottles! As if I didn’t want to run away to Paris anyway…

I’ve done many last minute Monoprix picnics in Paris over the years, and loved them all, but today I want to tell you about the perfect picnic in Paris.

How To Plan The Perfect Picnic In Paris

 

In the 7th arrondissement there is a wonderful little food shopping street called Rue Cler. This is not only one of the best market streets in Paris (in my opinion anyway), but it is also an authentic market street, much loved by local Parisians and relatively unknown to the bulk of the 30 million tourists who make their way to the City of Lights each year. Rue Cler is full of specialty food shops and lovely cafés. It is mostly a pedestrian street, freeing you to wander aimlessly from side to side, taking your time to look in any store that takes your eye, when it takes your eye.

Rue Cler, Paris

If you rent an apartment in the 7th, a daily wander to Rue Cler would be magnifique. I’m actually thinking about renting an apartment in the 7th next time I go, so I’m just projecting my shopping plans on you right now..

Anyway, back to the picnic. I had this particular picnic in mind before leaving home on this trip, so packed a red and white checkered table cloth (clichéd, I know, but it was so worth it!), some paper plates, paper cups (because I couldn’t find my plastic champagne glasses. A touch gauche, but who cares?) and matching napkins, along with a Vera Bradley Havana Rose Market Tote bag that I could put everything in and walk around still looking chic.

We headed over to Rue Cler to buy our picnic provisions, and it was not only fabulous and fun, but it was also such an experience in and of itself. When I travel its always the experience that I am craving. Whether you are shopping on Rue Cler for a dinner party, lunch, or in this case a picnic, make a point of telling each vendor what the event is that you are shopping for. They will help you with pairings, and make everything so much more fun!

The perfect Parisian picnic has to have some charcuterie meats, some cheese, fruit, wine and of course a baguette. I like to start the shopping process with the charcuterie meats.

Rue Cler Charcuterie

I went to Charcuterie Jeusselin first and was looking at their outdoor stand at different canapés they had on offer. I told the guy behind the counter I was shopping for a picnic for two, and he threw his hands in the air, canceled everything I had asked for, and said no, it must – absolutely must be a small quiche. It was hilarious! Then he came inside the store and talked to his counterpart, explained that there was a picnic happening and that there needed to be a few slices of cold meat for the picnic. They went back and forth at length deciding what would go best with the quiche, then decided on a few slices of white ham.

Rue Cler Fromagerie

The next stop was a couple of doors down at the Fromagerie. I wanted one hard cheese and one soft cheese, told the man behind the counter that it was for a picnic and asked his advice. He wanted to know what I had bought so far, and then both the fellows working in the store dove headfirst into a huge conversation about which 2 cheeses it should be. There was much gesticulating, chin rubbing, deep thought, passing me samples and further discussing the picnic and its cheeses, “because Madam, it must be perfect!”

I saw they had baguettes in the store so asked for one of those as well, at which they threw their four hands in the air and said NON! You must get your baguette from Ronde des Pains down the street on the corner of Rue Champs du Mars. No question – the picnic would be a disaster if I bought the wrong bread!

See what I mean about the experience?? I was having the most fun ever! Our picnic was tiny but the shopping experience was huge.

Quiche, ham and cheeses bought I crossed the street to NYSA Vins et Spiriteux to buy some champagne. I told the lady it was for a picnic, and the whole crazy fabulous routine started over! She looked at everything I had bought so far, was enraptured with the cheese selection, and immediately chose the most perfect champagne to go with it all. It wasn’t the most expensive, nor was it the 4th most expensive, instead she told me about the notes in the champagne that would sing when paired with the items purchased so far. She was absolutely right too!

Rue Cler Les Floralies

Next up the flower shop. Why not have some gorgeous roses to go with this affair? At Les Floralies they asked if the roses were for a gift. I said no, they were for a picnic to make it look pretty. Ah! they said. Then your roses must be wrapped just so, to coordinate with your picnic plates and look just right. The picnic must be perfect!

The last two stops were for the baguette and then across the street to Top Halles for some fruit and we were ready to go.

With the perfect picnic purchased, and it wasn’t expensive at all, it was time for Uber to take us to our picnic spot. We could have walked but I had visions of the quiche getting broken, so we caught a ride to the Champs de Mars.

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Eiffel Tower at night

I absolutely love evening picnics at the base of the Eiffel Tower. You want to sit far enough back that you can take in the entire view, and you want to time it so that you arrive just before the tower lights up. At the top of each hour the sparkling lights go off for 5 or 10 minutes.

So here is the mini picnic that was the source of so much fun:

picnic in paris

The quiche was still piping hot, and we got there right before the sun went down.

Every single thing about buying a picnic on Rue Cler and then having your picnic at the Eiffel Tower is just amazing.

paris picnic

We were surrounded by Parisians doing the same thing, although it seemed that most of them just had a bottle of wine and some potato chips.

No one was drunk, no one was badly behaved, everyone was just enjoying the view and the soft, balmy night.

Eiffel Tower picnic at night

Everywhere we went in Paris women were wearing this Adidas shoe. I bought this pair on Rue des Rosiers in the Marais because I wanted to wander Paris in them too. They are substantially cheaper at home on Zappos.com, so I am ordering a second pair (cream and white) when I get home.

Eiffel Tower picnic at night

Eiffel Tower at night

I hope that if you are in Paris you will take the time to at least wander along Rue Cler, and even if it’s just a bottle of wine and some chips, take the time to have yourself a picnic with a view.


 

I’m in Paris at the moment, but Sophia Smith, an Australian blogger and magazine contributor very kindly offered to write me a guest post while I was away. Sophia has written a fabulous article about minimalist beauty, which I am sure you will love!

When it comes to makeup I am absolutely a minimalist. Because I travel so much I have pared my products down to absolute basics – I call it a capsule collection. It has refined how much makeup I wear (very little), reinforced my belief in a good, bold lip, and has made me even more focused on maintaining a really great complexion. Skin care on the other hand is my kryptonite. I can’t get enough! The Korean 10 step regimen is right up my alley. If they made it a 20 step program I would love it even more!

I have been working hard to streamline everything in my life, so Sophia’s timing was perfect. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I have, and that you will follow Sophia on her social media, linked at the bottom of this post.

5 Steps To Minimalist Beauty

By Sophia Smith

It’s the movement that intends to change the way shopping and consumerism shape our societies. And it strives to do so not only without causing any harm, but while actually bringing a positive change to the world. In essence, minimalism is the modern individual’s way to make a statement and make a difference in the world, one Earth-friendly, long-term choice at a time.

Minimalist Beauty Guide

Why switch to minimalism in your beauty routine, you ask? Because both your skin health and your environment will be eternally grateful. And here’s how to do it effortlessly and permanently.

1. Back to basics

If your bathroom cabinets are chock-full of various products you apply randomly without a specific rhythm to it, then it’s high time you got rid of the extra bottles and rethink your skincare strategy. Ditch all those expired creams and lotions, assess your skin type and keep only those items you need for your daily cleanse and moisturizing.

minimalist beauty

 

A sunscreen, a moisturizing lotion and a weekly exfoliator are at the very core of a solid minimalistic beauty routine – everything else is accessorizing. Consider multi-purpose items such as moisturizers that work as toners and have built-in sun protection, and that are gentle enough to be applied even on your most sensitive areas around your lips and eyes. This will cut your beauty stock in half and simplify your routine.

2. Think: pure

Much like your diet, your skincare product ingredients should be nourishing and natural, without synthetic elements that can harm your health or the environment. It takes more than a single, prominent item on the ingredient list to be organic for the whole product to qualify as such. And nowadays, you can even screen products for cruelty, and find those that reflect your values as well as your skincare needs.

minimalist beauty

Many brands have earned a solid reputation as all-natural and organic and have become a number-one choice by green-oriented communities, such as the skincare line by Dr Hauschka. When you choose pure products that will keep your skin radiant and healthy, you ensure that your skin will age well, and stay protected from oversaturation with harmful chemicals.

3. The twice-a-day rule

Your three-step morning routine of water-cleanse, moisturize and protect can be simplified even further for your bedtime ritual. This time, since your skin had to endure the challenges of the weather and other harsh conditions, a slightly deeper cleanse should be incorporated. Instead of pure water, you can apply a gentle cleanser that will vary depending on your skin type, such as The Little Alchemist’s apple and mint gel.

minimalist beauty

Follow up with an evening-friendly moisturizer (and many natural ones double as both day and night creams) and your skin will be ready for the much-needed beauty sleep that is an equally important segment of your skincare regime.

4. Minimal makeup

While it seems to be a trend on the rise for this season, using little to no makeup to flaunt your natural beauty is also every minimalist’s attitude. Instead of overburdening your skin with excessive amounts of beautifying products, try to stick to one or two skin-friendly items that also nourish your complexion.

minimalist makeup

Mineral makeup has some great benefits that are incredible for people with sensitive or acne prone skin, so it’s definitely something to consider. Read the labels and only trust brands like Nude by Nature without synthetic ingredients, preservatives, 100% cruelty free and PETA certified.

5. Multipurpose minimalism

In case you’re a foodie as well, your kitchen is probably filled with delicious, healthy choices that nourish your skin from within. But have you tried using some of your trusty kitchen supplies as your beauty boosters? Some of the simplest items can have a powerful effect on your skin health, and coconut oil is a perfect example – it can be used as a lip balm, an exfoliator when mixed with sea salt, or your body lotion.

coconuts

The same goes for your tea-packs that can help you get rid of eyebags, cucumbers that tone and revitalize your skin, face masks made of eggs, honey and healthy oils, you name it. In all likelihood, most of your skin necessities are hidden in your kitchen, so homemade can be your perfect solution.

Author BIO:

Sophia Smith is an Australia-based beauty and lifestyle blogger. She is very passionate about yoga, natural skincare and healthy food choices. Sophia writes mostly about beauty related topics in her articles. Over the years she wrote pieces for: Eco Warrior Princess, Viva Glam Magazine, How to Simplify, Urban Naturale, Just Haves and Carousel.

Find Sophia on Twitter @sophia_bri  and on Google+ here

All images in this post are courtesy of Sophia Smith

When I am in Italy with my Glam Italia Tours we often come back to our apartment or villa after a long day of sightseeing and wind down with a crisp, cold glass of prosecco and a platter of snacks, otherwise known as a charcuterie board. It is the perfect way to welcome the evening ahead in Italy.

When I’m in Paris (if you are reading this blog post the week it went live, I’m there right now) I adore going for picnics. We go shopping on a food street like Rue Cler, and pick up a baguette, a bottle of champagne or wine, and then wander in and out of cheese shops, fruit shops, meat shops, and build the bits and pieces needed for a chic, Parisian picnic. Which looks remarkably like a charcuterie board!

charcuterie board accompaniments

When I am home from my trips and want to re-live the glorious nights on our balcony overlooking the Amalfi Coast, or the early evenings in San Gimignano, I whip up a charcuterie board and pop an ice cold bottle of prosecco. When I am pining for soirees in Paris, or maybe just need a break from the realities of real life, a charcuterie board dinner with a glass of Sancerre is the perfect escape.

charcuterie board for two

My travelers always take photos of the spreads I put out and tell me they try to duplicate them when they get home.

To help both them and you spice up any gathering or any evening, Gifts.com compiled a guide on how to build the perfect charcuterie board. Mix and match meats, cheeses and accompaniments for the ultimate hors d’oeuvre. You can use this guide to help you choose your meats and cheeses, and to put the whole thing together.

charcuterie pairing chart

Not only will your guests be impressed with the selection, they’ll be excited to customize their appetizer to their liking.

charcuterie Board cheese options

charcuterie board meats

Bon appetit!

I do not have affiliate marketing with Gifts.com, this post has not been sponsored and they have never even sent me products to try. This post is not a review. It is hopefully an inspiration!

How To Make A Charcuterie Board