Well, I'm glad I asked! First, thanks to each of you for your opinions on picnics and wine in public parks in Paris.
You've already convinced me that we'll err on the side of caution and have du vin in a terrace cafe.
But about picnics. Looks like we have a conflict of opinions on that one.
When I first posted the question, I had not yet specifically looked at Rick's Paris guidebook (which I have since I'm going to Paris in a few weeks). I was kinda under the vague impression Rick was positive on picnics.
So just now I looked up what Rick has to say, and he says:
"Paris is picnic-friendly. Almost any park will do."
He continues: "Many have benches or grassy areas, though some lawns are off-limits--obey the signs."
(quote is from page 450-451 of Rick's Paris 2014).
And about drinking wine in Paris parks, we have a big conflict of opinion between some of us and Rick.
Here's what Rick says about that:
"And though drinking wine in public places is taboo in the US, it's pas de problème [not a problem] in France."
(page 449 of Paris 2014).
Again, your posts have already convinced me to err on the side of caution when it comes to the wine, despite Rick's assurances that it's okay.
But I am interested in a little picnicking--so I think I'll ask Laura (the Rick Steves forum moderator) if she could perhaps check with their Paris guidebook editor to confirm that, yes, they're really sure about the picnic advice in their book.
Stay tuned, maybe Laura will see this post on Monday.