Dear French people

I was listening to an interesting podcast earlier today call The Land of Desire. It’s all things France, and today I learned that you lovely people are the ones that popularized picnics. From elegant meals outdoors on heavy furniture lugged out by armies of servants to today’s simple blanket and a basket. Well done, France.

Bois de Boulogne, pic from

Happy linguistic tangent: picnic is one of those mystery words of uncertain etymology, but it’s thought to potentially come from picorer or pick, as in to peck or pick at your food. No one knows when the term came into use, but its earliest appearance in print was in 1629. So maybe it was your idea or maybe it was someone else’s, but you certainly helped spread a very good thing.

Getting together to enjoy a meal outdoors is one of my favorite ways to spend time with friends. And to decompress. I especially appreciated the practice when I spent my days in an office.

Too much time in an air-conditioned space filled with gray cubicles and white lighting was very stressful for me, physically and mentally. Picnics and patio lunches were my salvation. It was such a relief to actually feel the breeze, hear the trees and smell the grass. What a difference it made!

That outdoor break improved the quality of my life significantly.

So, my dear French people, you have contributed lovely things like boujolais, brie and ballet, but I must say, picnics have long been my favorite.

Merci beaucoup !

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