Lime green plates and red handled cutlery rested snugly alongside the cups, glasses, chef’s knife, and other kitchen essentials in the snap-lid container. And that container was safely tucked beneath the hatchback of the car. A quick trip to any supermarket in Europe and we were ready to eat both inexpensively and in style!
We had assembled the contents of that snap-lid container in England before driving onto the overnight ferry from Harwich to Rotterdam and beginning this adventure. So, along with the food that we have purchased in each country, it has certainly assisted in our budget-saving strategy in the Netherlands, Germany, and France.
A particularly picturesque stop was in the town of Tillieres in the Pays de la Loire where we stumbled upon a marked picnic ground adjacent to a moulin (windmill) on the grounds of a vineyard.
Late 1800s moulin (mill) in the town of Tillieres in the Pays de la Loire, France
Shady picnic hut in Tillieres next to the moulin
Making lunch in the shade on a hot day in France
View of moulin (mill) from the vineyard in Tillieres, France
Yes, we love those wonderful French plat du jour meals that I described in Lovely Lengthy Lunchtime In Lisle Sur Tarn — but unless you are independently wealthy, making your trip extend for longer than a typical vacation period of a few weeks will necessitate some savings strategies.
Picnics are one of your best money-saving measures since the fresh ingredients you need will cost a fraction of what you will pay in a restaurant — even if it is a plat du jour special! For a grand total of under €7 instead of €20-28, we each had a healthy lunch that included crunchy dark bread, deli meat, gorgeous French cheese, sliced tomato and cucumber, and a pot of yogurt for dessert. If you are lucky enough to be travelling by car, you too can pre-assemble a plastic box or carrier bag full of essentials and be ready for a roadside picnic pretty well anywhere.
My last picture below was taken outside the walls of the fortified medieval chateau at Fougeres and it’s pretty unbeatable for gorgeous eating spots. You won’t always get this lucky, but Europe certainly has some remarkable places with picnic benches or seats just waiting for your own fresh and breezy pique-nique.
Mark assembling a sandwich outside the fortified chateau walls at Fougeres in France
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