Bon appetit: Paris’s Champs-Elysées to host giant picnic

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Bon appetit: Paris’s Champs-Elysées to host giant picnic
The Champs-Elysees is normally a busy shopping thoroughfare. (Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP)

Paris’s most famous street, the Champs-Elysées, is to host a giant open-air picnic on Sunday as the French capital’s iconic boulevard seeks to reinvent itself.


Nearly 273,000 people have applied to take part in the event which will see a 216-metre red-and-white chequered rug cover the picnic ground and feature free packed meals from organisers’ eight partner restaurants.

Around 4,000 people have been selected to participate in the ‘le grand pique-nique’, with each guest invited to bring up to six additional people and choose one of two sittings, at noon or 2pm.

The ‘world's largest tablecloth’, made from 25 pieces of recycled fibre, will be assembled on site by 150 people, organisers said.

The aim of the event was to show that the Champs-Elysées, famous for its expensive boutiques and restaurants, was not only good for shopping, said Marc-Antoine Jamet, president of the organiser, the Champs-Elysées Committee.

“It’s a way of telling Parisians: ‘Come back to the Champs-Elysées’,” he said.

In 2023, the association transformed the avenue into an open-air mass dictation spellathon, pitting thousands of France’s brainiest bookworms against one another.


With 1,779 desks laid out on the boulevard, organisers had sought to break the world record for a dictation spelling competition.

A top tourist attraction, the avenue has been gradually abandoned by locals in recent years.

The historic UGC Normandie cinema, which opened in 1937, is set to close in June due to decline in business.

On Monday, the Committee was due to present a 1,800-page study of possible ways to reinvent the Champs-Elysees.



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