A South of France Picnic

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.

Bread & Cheese



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.

Rice Salad

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.

picnic 4

14 thoughts on “A South of France Picnic”

  1. We have done lots of wonderful things in Provence but we have yet to have picnic. We like to hike so it seems we should plan a walk and include a basket with some tasty food and wine provisions. You obviously have some very pretty places to picnic along the Mediterranean Sea.


    1. Too true Michel, we’ll have to get out more to “Provence Verte” to try other picnic spots – we had a nice stop along the Argens river last summer and can imagine hiking to other spots more “inland” to picnic – so many great scenic stops in Provence to explore.


  2. I do love a provençal picnic. It’s so relaxed and uncomplicated. D and I sometimes have dinner on the beach in Nice: fresh baguette, coppa and saucissons, grapes, Comté cheese, rosé, and some water (to keep hydrated of course). And yes, poulet rôti chips!


    1. Yep, relaxed and uncomplicated sums it up perfectly Tanya. In fact, this picnic was quite an elaborate affair compared to how we usually go… quick dash to the marché / supermarché and most of the “production” takes place at the beach 🙂 And of course who could forget the Comté – so so good!


  3. I am on this extreme diet, sit down in this warm afternoon, read your blog and as it turns out, I ended up with a glass of wine, cheese and crackers. Diet destroyed. 🙂 thanks…


    1. I wish I was there sipping wine with you Kenya… *sigh*… sending a “virtual” toast your way and we miss you my dear !


  4. What a perfectly gorgeous day and WONDERFUL picnic, Tuula! I had never heard of chicken chips before going to New Zealand for the first time. My friends there LOVED them so I had to get accustomed. They’re OK but definitely not my favorite. 🙂


    1. Thanks Krista 🙂 Yep, not a whole lot beats a picnic by the sea on a sunny day… and I agree, chicken chips are a bit of an acquired taste 🙂 bon weekend ma belle !


    1. Thanks Sam! Hope all is well on your side of the world and sending you some “virtual” sunshine to combat those snow flurries, lol… salut from Provence! xo


  5. You’re showing all my favorite places! Great minds, I tell you 🙂 I think all of us who live in Provence have great minds (wink). The food looks yummy and makes me want to go have a picnic by the beach!


    1. He he, Ashley, good one 🙂 Yep, I’m sure we’re hitting many of the same “hot spots” around Provence… Hard not to with all of the great places to visit… & good thing that picnic season is just around the corner. Don’t know about you, but I’m just waiting for the weather to heat up a bit! Hope all’s well on your side of Provence 🙂


  6. Hi! I hope you can answer this question for me. I read in a Fodor’s sight that the boat trips to the calanques are closed on the weekends. Do you know if this is so? Love your pics and thanks for the reply!


  7. Hi Patsy,
    We I was in Cassis last weekend and the boat trips were definitely open… maybe they were speaking about leaving from Marseille? Who knows! But anyway you won’t have any problems if you leave from Cassis. bon voyage!


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