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Maison Cherie French lifestyle and home decor blog

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A Culinary Journey: The History of the Picnic in France

The modern concept of a picnic as we know it today has its roots intertwined with the culture and gastronomy of France.

La Rochere clear bee tumblers and wine glasses

While the origins of the picnic can be traced back to ancient times, the modern concept of a picnic as we know it today has its roots intertwined with the culture and gastronomy of France.

The word "picnic" is believed to have originated from the French term "pique-nique," which emerged in the late 17th century. However, the practice of outdoor dining predates this by centuries. In medieval France, noble families and aristocrats often enjoyed grand feasts in the countryside accompanied by music, entertainment and an array of delectable dishes.

During the 18th century, the Enlightenment era, French society embraced the idea of natural landscapes as a means of relaxation and rejuvenation, and the concept of picnics began to transform into a leisure activity for the masses.

In the 19th century, Parisians embraced the notion of leisurely strolls in parks and gardens, often accompanied by small baskets filled with delicious treats. Impressionist painters captured these idyllic scenes, immortalizing the charm of these outdoor gatherings in their masterpieces. The emergence of department stores in France further popularized the idea of picnics, as they began selling specialized picnic baskets and accessories.

Today, picnics remain a cherished tradition in France, offering an opportunity to savour the country's rich culinary heritage amidst breathtaking landscapes. French cuisine lends itself perfectly to the picnic concept; artisanal cheeses, cured meats, crusty baguettes, and delicious pastries are perfect to be enjoyed leisurely.


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