Paris is a remarkably green city with many options to get off the beaten track. The edges of the capital are interspersed with delightful green areas, from contemporary parks to charming historical walks and tucked-away secret gardens.
Discover the 12th arrondissement through the Promenade plantée, take a country walk in the verdant Petite Ceinture circling the west of Paris; explore the village of Passy, once home to wine merchants and quarry workers; wander in the Luxembourg and Napoleon’s Zoological Gardens.
La Promenade Plantée
(Avenue Daumesnil, Paris 12th, Metro: Bastille)
The ‘greenway’ crossing Paris’s entire 12th arrondissement begins behind the Bastille opera house, and runs along a former circular railway line (closed in 1969). The walk begins in mid-air, on Avenue Daumesnil with a staircase leading up to the viaduct of the railway line, within the arches you can now find studios of more than 50 craftsmen and artists, passing brick mansions until you reach the half-moonshaped lawn of the Jardin de Reuilly, once home to the Merovingian kings.
La petite ceinture
(Passy / Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16th, Metro: Michel-Ange-Auteuil)
The Petite Ceinture is another former railway line in the 16th arrondissement between the Porte d’Auteuil and the Gare de la Muette. Disused since 1934, it once encircled Paris along the boulevards des Maréchaux, and was opened to walkers in 2008. The rusted tracks have become a haven for more than 200 species of plants in a rare biodiversity of wild flowers and fauna.
Jardin du Luxembourg
(Rue de Vaugirard, Paris 6th, Metro: Odéon)
The Luxembourg gardens, ravaged in 1782 and 1866, were loved by residents and writers of the area: Baudelaire, Verlaine, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Balzac, Hemingway and Sartre.
(Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16th, Metro: Les Sablons)
The Jardin d’acclimatation (zoological park) was inaugurated by Napoléon III in 1860 to display luxuriant flora in winter hothouses with exotic animals and members of Indian tribes shown for the curiosity of the aristocrats and the bourgeoisie. Today it offers workshops and educational attractions for children, the secrets of tea or perfume, merry-go-round, puppet show and animals.