Why should Spring and Summertime be the only time to have a picnic? With all of that beautiful colours on display in Autumn and the mild sunny days before Winter settles in, could be the perfect occasion to go on a picnic with friends, family or a special loved one and enjoy a heartly brunch in the open air.
Preparing ahead is essential; start by visiting the many markets in the city centre. Grab some oven hot bread, croissants and pains au chocolate from the bakery. Cheese – why not? We are in Normandy after all! Our cheeses are renowned throughout the world.
At the fishmonger grab some delicious fish-pâté and some homemade smoked salmon. Then head off to the local butcher that will suggest a wide range of cold meats to choose from.
Do not forget to buy some fresh seasonal fruits, like some oranges to make freshly squeezed orange juice with and lastly, the apple juice and cider – the pride from Normandy.
Packing the right gear to keep everyone warm and snug takes a little bit of planning. Some blankets to snuggle into should you feel chilly, warm-water bottles will be welcomed with a smile, and a flask with homemade hot chocolate – and you are ready for a delightful Fall Picnic…
Now that the basket is pack, lets head off to our favourite spots…
An unmissable spot for tourists passing through Rouen is the Saint-Catherine Hill and it is one of Rouen’s favorite places to have a picnic. Sitting in the grass, with a breathtaking view of the city and the Seine running through it, makes for the perfect setting, where many great love stories began over a glass of Champagne.
This is also the exact spot that was immortalized by Claude Monet’s painting the “Vue générale de Rouen” or The General View of Rouen, that can be found in the free Fine Arts Museum of the city, amongst many other great Impressionist masterpieces.
The waterfront of Rouen, and in particular the Saint-Sever meadow on the left bank is an enchanting setting to eat while boats and barges pass by on the Seine. With its newly renovated green spaces, tables for picnicking and games for children it makes for an ideal spot for families of any size. Here the locals enjoy the Seine and come for a leisurely stroll, some exercise or just to relax.
Another great spot to appreciate the river and for a quiet moment is on the shores of the Île Lacroix. You are bound to find a perfect spot to enjoy your feast with loved ones.
A real treat and probably one of the prettiest gardens around is the “Jardin des Plantes” or Botanical Gardens situated on the left bank in Rouen. It is perfect for a picnic for two or with the kids, that will enjoy all of its playtime installations. Its large park and its botany are renowned throughout Normandy.
Take advantage of the large grassy esplanades and enjoy the fall sun next to a century-old tree while admiring the peacocks that roam freely.
Do not miss the central greenhouse dating back almost 170 years. It houses arid plants, Mediterranean utility plants and carnivorous plants. The children would really appreciate the aviaries with its, parakeets, parrots, Chinese quails, golden pheasants and other amazing birds.
The city hall
This large park in the historic center of Rouen is just picture perfect for a picnic? Located next to the gothic Saint-Ouen Abbey and the Town Hall, one can understand why it is a firm favourite to city dwellers and locals, who come here to eat their lunch, as soon as a ray of sunshine appear.
The large green spaces and the many trees almost give the feeling that you are lost in the country side, yet you are reminded that you are in a medieval city with the gardens’ picturesque view of the half-timbered houses. You probably will be enjoying brunch and taking many photos at the same time – they are bound to be the stars of Instagram.
An inside scoop – this garden is just splendid in Spring, when all the trees are in full bloom and the whole garden transforms into a colorful gem.
of the windmills
A small and lesser known corner of Rouen to have a picnic in, must be the “Route des Moulins” or “Route of the Windmills”, just east of the city. Treat yourself to a timeless moment by picnicking a few steps away from one of the Rouen’s mills along the Robec and Aubette streams.
The calm of this route will offer you a perfect setting for an unforgettable outdoor experience, just minutes from the bustling life of the historic center. Easily accessible by public transport, but we recommend that you get on your bike and follow the waterway from the center of town to this charming place, to fully enjoy the surroundings.