I think Martha Stewart-style perfection is slightly out of my reach.  But I still have this crazy mindset that I want things to be absolutely perfect when friends come to visit.  Betsy was here all week, and one of the things she really wanted to do was to get closer to the Eiffel Tower.  So I thought, what better way to enjoy this amazing landmark than with an impromptu evening picnic on her last night in town.

Everyone should have nights like this, so here’s my recipe for the perfect French picnic:


  • Friends:  1.  You need at least 1 great friend/family member.  I’ve known Betsy since 2004 and I count her as one of my closest comrades.  We spend days laughing, talking about the important things in life and enjoying dessert.  And Alissa made a return trip to Paris, on her way to Toulouse. I feel so lucky to have a great friend living in France.  2.  Friend from Australia. Australians are great travelers and wonderful people.  Luckily Netty, Betsy’s friend was in town… from Australia.
  • Wine:  Lately I’ve been drinking a lot of rosé.  It’s so delicious and refreshing for summer!  I also recommend chinon from the Loire Valley.  It’s a light red.
  • Cheese: There are so many to choose from!  A visit to the local fromagerie had us salivating over Comté, Saint Nectaire, and a gooey goat’s milk cheese.  Tip:  We also brought along some confiture (apricot, mango, vanilla) to mix with the cheeses.  Delightful!
  • Chocolat:  A strong dark chocolate filled with nuts and dried fruits is one of my favorites.
  • French bread: I don’t really need to elaborate on this one.

(NB: Just because you may not have the Eiffel Tower in your backyard doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun Frenchie picnic. I remember my good friend Sarah Copeland (www.edibleliving.com) would set up picnics in the winter on our living room floor!)

So we settled in as the crowd around us drank, danced, rapped en francais, and enjoyed the beautiful summer evening.

And when dusk became night, the Eiffel Tower began to glitter and everyone cheered and applauded in pure joyfulness.  In that moment everything really was perfect.

(However, because I am not Martha Stewart, I didn’t have a car service/horse-drawn carriage waiting to take us all home.  In the magic of the perfect picnic, time escaped us. The metro was closed so we walked for about an hour and half through the streets of Paris unable to find a single cab to take us home.

Lesson learned:  Really enjoy these fleeting moments of perfection while they last!)