At first sight, central Paris can seem like a city crammed with buildings. Look closer and of course you’ll discover the manicured lawns and clipped trees of large gardens like the Luxembourg and Tuileries. Tucked away though are smaller stretches of greenery with seasonal plantings of flowers and meandering gravel pathways. Here are our favorite top 5 lesser known Paris gardens.
1. Jardin des Plantes
The Jardin des Plantes is the largest of our Paris gardens – in fact, it’s the city’s main botanical gardens. But it’s so charming and comparatively tucked away, it really is a must-see.
The gardens are right by Gare d’Austerlitz on the Left Bank, running back from the Seine. Tree-lined promenades run in ordered ranks down the centre, but much more interesting are the flower beds of picturesquely planted perennials and annuals, the iris water gardens, rambling Alpine rock garden, greenhouses, roses and tropical plants. Depending on the season, you might also spot massed plantings of peonies, tulips, lilies, poppies, violas and primroses.
If you’re a garden lover you’ll find plenty of diversions in the garden beds alone. If not, the garden is also home to a Geology Museum, Children’s Gallery, Palaeontology Museum, the Grand Gallery of Evolution, the Museum of Man and a tiny but very historic children’s zoo.
2. Promenade Plantée
Almost 5km (3 miles) of former railway line has been transformed into a floral walkway, running through the 12th arrondissement from the Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes.
Near the Bastille, the elevated garden runs above the archway boutiques and workshops of the Viaduc des Arts, and is accessed along the way by footbridges, steps and tunnels. The views are unique, and the areas of Paris you’ll pass through are off the beaten track, granting you secret glimpses of houses and backstreets.
The walkway is planted with a variety of trees, including maples and limes, along with seasonal beauties like roses, lavender and wisteria.
Photo courtesy of RachelH via Flickr.