French painters would like you to believe that picnicking is a luxury reserved for the parasol-toting, bustle-butted, top-hatted bourgeois. But here in St. Louis, we say, "Screw you, Seurat!" and do picnicking our own way — which is why Lafayette Park is our favorite place to spread a blanket and chow down on sandwiches, potato salad and whatever else we can fit in our basket. Surrounded by wrought-iron fences and Victorian architecture, the park wears its romantic charm in a distinctly St. Louis way. The landscaping isn't overly manicured, and there's no keep-off-the-grass vibe anywhere. Instead of preppy pansies, big-leafed shrubs of deep purples and golden yellows and greens give the park an unpretentious beauty. If you need picnic tables, they're there, but if you don't, the ground is soft. We recommend the latter form of picnicking; unlike nineteenth-century snobs, we St. Louisans are willing to sit our asses right on the grass.
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