Picnics are a great way to save money while traveling and also an easy way to enjoy “natural” Provence.
There are so many possible picnic spots that it’s hard to choose just one, but it seems that most folks in the South prefer to spread their blankets near the sea. Often a drive along the coast can provide a choice location, and there are several seaside sites in the Var that are quite popular.
Our standout picnic favorite is Sanary-sur-Mer (where these photos were taken), and other good bets include the Calanques (accessible on foot if you depart from Cassis) and the Ile de Porquerolles – a boat ride away from the town of Hyères.
Once you’ve found your perfect place in the sun, it’s time to pack that wicker basket with a few key essentials. One of the first priorities would have to be a good wine. And if you’re in the South in the spring, summer, or early fall, that wine is most likely going to be Rosé. You can get a decent bottle for €8 and a très bon one for about €12. Throw in a few baguettes, cheese, and olives, and you’re halfway home to Provençal-picnic bliss.
Other French picnic fare includes salumi (& various charcuterie), fresh fruit, and rice salads. Rice salads come in many forms, including Niçoise (with tuna & olives), Italian, & Provençal. These easy mixes are such a popular summer staple that I’m working my way through an entire rice-salad cookbook. That’s really beaucoup de riz.
Lastly, the French aren’t picnic-snobs, you’ll find a nice selection of chips (or crisps for our British amis) included in any basket. And, if you’re really lucky, some kind friend will show up with the king of French chips: poulet rôti. And really, what kind of French picnic would it be without roasted-chicken potato chips? I, for one, don’t want to find out.