With some 480 parks and gardens, Paris’s green spaces offer plenty of choice: from the little square galant for a romantic tryst to a big contemporary park for family fun with the kids, plus there are botanical gardens for plant lovers … Follow the guide.
Journey through time
To go back to Gallo-Roman times, head to the Square des arènes de Lutèce or, soak up the medieval atmosphere in the jardin du musée de Cluny (closed until further notice). Do you want to see the oldest tree in Paris? Four centuries-old, it stands proudly in the Square René-Viviani, , in the heart of the Latin Quarter.
Garden design over the centuries
The ‘French-style’ garden was raised to perfection by André Le Nôtre in the 17th century and is characterized by its geometric layout and its perfect symmetry. The Luxembourg Gardens (the ‘Luco’ for those who know it well) and the Tuileries Gardens are fine examples of this style.
In contrast, the ‘English-style’ garden’ favours a return to nature, as reflected in the landscape architecture of the Parc Monceau and the Parc Montsouris, with their more natural planting and irregular landscape architecture. Paris also boasts contemporary parks with Parc de la Villette, Parc André-Citroën and Parc de Bercy.
Some of Paris’s parks and gardens have wonderful views over the capital. For a breathtaking view of the basilica of Sacré-Cœur, go to the little garden Square Louise-Michel. And the best place to take in the full scale of the Eiffel tower is from the Jardin du Champ-de-Mars.
Situated on a hill, the Parc de Belleville offers a marvellous view of Paris. And, for a bird’s eye view of the capital, the Ballon de Paris (air-balloon) in the parc André-Citroën will take you up to a height of 150 metres.
A romantic tryst? Paris is a worthy rival with numerous romantic places: with a chateau, a Chinese pagoda and a rose garden at the Parc de Bagatelle, the Temple de la Sibylle perched atop a rock in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, antique columns, ruins, statues and groves in the parc Monceau…
With the kids
Most of Paris’s green spaces have swings, slides and roundabouts to entertain toddlers. For bumper-sized playgrounds, head to the Terrain d’Aventures at the Jardin Nelson-Mandela at Les Halles. Not forgetting the Parc de la Villette, the Tuileries Gardens, the Parc André-Citroën and the Parc de Belleville.
To get away from the urban environment, there is nothing better than a trip to the Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne, Paris’s two green lungs. Paris has a wealth of plant species to discover in its four botanical gardens: the Parc Floral de Paris, the parc de Bagatelle, the Jardin de l’école d’Horticulture du Breuil and the jardin des serres d’Auteuil.
Tucked away in the heart of the Jardin des Plantes the alpine garden has numerous alpine species. For biodiversity, the Jardin sauvage Saint-Vincent is a wild garden and home to unique flora in Paris. Finally, for a complete change of scenery, head to the very exotic Jardin d’Agronomie tropicale.
And now for something unusual
Some gardens have developed in completely unexpected places. Located on a former railway, the Coulée verte René-Dumont (formerly Promenade plantée) is a planted promenade installed at a height of 10 metres, and the Jardin Atlantique, is hidden away above Montparnasse train station.
And for a very special visit, it is worth noting that the gardens of the Elysee Palace sometimes open their doors to the public, in particular during the Heritage Days weekend. A visit not to be missed!
Guided tours of parks and gardens of Paris
Throughout the year, the Paris City Council organizes guided tours of parks and gardens, for which on certain dates there is no charge.
Lasting two hours, they relate the history and particular features of Paris’s green oases: from romantic gardens to wild gardens and including vegetable gardens, shared gardens and contemporary parks, etc.
More info on Parks and gardens in Paris