15 May 2017

The French Picnic Needs A Basket

The French Picnic Needs A Basket on vickiarcher.com

France, the countryside, picnics and baskets go hand in hand.

I cannot imagine one without the other.

The climate, especially in Provence and the local’s love of outdoor life makes the picnic an ideal way to spend some leisure time.

Yesterday, on a long walk with my daughter we saw many French people out and about, with their baskets, heading to find a favourite shady spot to spread their rug and set up their picnic. The French know how to create an ambience when they eat outdoors; forget plastic cartons and Styrofoam coffee cups. I see picnickers with the full set-up and that includes tables and chairs and a comfy spot to snooze.

What I admire about the French lifestyle is their attention to detail when it comes to the everyday. Each meal is important and as we all know there is no such thing as ‘no’ lunch. Whether a picnic, a restaurant or a meal at home, lunch is lunch. The outdoor picnic is no different.

I have been in love with French baskets for years.

My collection of baskets usually swells in the summer and gets depleted towards the end of the season as guests and children come and go. Everyone finds something in Provence to make his or her own and they need a basket to carry it home. It’s a win/win for both of us as I can continue my passion for collecting without feeling too carried away.

Baskets have evolved since my love affair began and now the French style basket has become the picnic basket of choice, the shopper or necessity and the fashion accessory of the season.

The humble basket has really found its forte.

When I pack a picnic I use a combination of baskets.

The ‘fashion’ baskets become the carriers for food and drink, for tablecloths and for napkins. One is my handbag for my personal bits and the traditional wicker chest style basket is the holder of all things practical.

When I am in France I use a basket pretty much every day, as a handbag and a practical way to shop. On the weekends I have started doing the same thing in London. This season there are so many pretty and decorative choices; it is an easy one to adopt.

Decorating our own baskets is also a fun way to go.

I have made well use of the paint, ribbon and pom poms on mine and for this I prefer the simple style of the French market basket and a spray on paint. Don’t forget the stencils, otherwise it’s a messy disaster and decorate outdoors!

Picnic or party? I’m copying the French with a basket or two. xv

The Basket: Yes Please

**pom pom wicker  ||  **sea grass basket  ||  woven bottom  ||  bahama mama  ||  dakar straw tote

**romance picnic  ||  catalina picnic  ||  **verona picnic  ||  wine and cheese picnic  ||  charleston picnic

image, kathryn m ireland, summers in france

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Our French Oasis

I couldn’t live without my French market baskets, and I’ve just bought a slightly smaller more decorative one for the summer to replace my leather tote which I use as a handbag. In the winter it’s fabulous but it seems too heavy and too serious for the summer season when I think its important and fun to add a touch of frivolity into our lives!

Taste of France

I went to a village dinner this weekend–it was the hunters’ feast. Bring your own table setting–it’s the custom around Carcassonne for these communal dinners. Less work/cost for the organizers. Do they do the same in Saint-Rémy? Of course, there were many beautiful baskets, carrying real dishes and stemware. No plastic disposables in sight.

Lynda Seglias

I wish I could click through your links more easily from one to the other. I have to click on it, then close the tab and go to the next and so forth. Also, I will be traveling to Nice going along and ending up in Marseille in early June. The first time I will be going there. I’m excited and a little nervous about getting around in a rented car. Any suggestions of where to go, what to see in that area. Thanks! Love your site, other than wish the links were easier to navigate. And, I always switch to a basket type bag for summer. Would love to picnic in France!


I’m sorry there is not much I can do about the links…
When I am looking in the same situation, what I do is right click and open them all in a new page.. that way it’s a bit easier to see them at the same time… at least easier than closing them down! Thank goodness for the right click :)


Dear Vicki, I love this post and the photos. I treasure a market basket I have brought back to Tasmania all the way from St Remy. We will be in St Remy in 3 weeks! We love walking so I’m intrigued about the canals to walk along – would the Tourist Office have information on these walks and where the canals are? Very best wishes


Yes, the tourist bureau in the car park near the Credit Aricole Bank will have all the information you need :)

Anita Rivera

Bonjour Vicki! I have learned so much about enjoying life through my French contacts/friends. The slightest thing in nature, taste, accessories in fashion for self and the table….so much attention to simply enjoying the moment. And to be outdoors amongst nature, what better way than to eat outdoors. And out with the imitation things such as styrofoam…bring on the china and aged flatware and the baskets!

Vicki Ford

It is so lovely to read and think about something as practical yet beautiful as baskets are. In a world filled with half mad celebrities taking their clothes off in public places, its encouraging to remember the simple and the good in life. I adore the darling nature of the pom pom wicker. I am captivated by the colours of the dakar tote. My eye is firmly fixed on the romance picnic number as a very perfect gift for a work colleague getting married to her perfect guy. To those who celebrated Mothers Day on the weekend, I hope it was a good one.☺


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