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Le Bois de Boulogne (Paris 16e)
The city's most legendary and largest park, known to Parisians as "Le Bois", was landscaped into an upper-class playground by Baron Haussmann in the 1850s, using London's Hyde Park as his model. Formerly a royal forest and hunting ground, this vast 2200-acre reserve is crisscrossed by broad, leafy roads, home to rowers, joggers, strollers, bicyclists, games of pétanque (or boules), picknickers, and lovers.
Main entrance at bottom of avenue Foch.
Métro: Porte Maillot, Porte Dauphine, or Porte d'Auteuil. Bus: 244. Phone: 01-40-67-97-02.

Le Bois de Vincennes (Paris 12e)
This sprawling park on the eastern periphery of Paris has been a longtime favorite of French families, who enjoy its zoos, museums, royal château, four lakes (Lacs Daumesnil, Minimes, Gravelle, Saint Mandé), boating, and an annual carnival, the "Foire du Trone". A celebrated flower garden here, the Parc Floral de Paris, is host to the "Foire à la Feraille de Paris" -- an annual antique and secondhand fair.
Métro: Porte de Charenton, Porte Dorée, or Liberté. Bus: 87.

Jardin Atlantique (Paris 19e)
Opened in 1994, this small park was planted on a concourse constructed over the first 100 yards of railroad tracks leading to the Gare Montparnasse. It features an assortment of trees and plants from countries on the Atlantic Ocean.
Location: Pont des Cinq-Martyrs-du-Lycée-Buffon. Métro: Gaîté.

Jardin du Bassin de l'Arsenal (Paris 12e)
Excavated in 1806 during the Napoleonic period, the
Arsenal basin connects the Canal Saint-Martin to the Seine via a series of nine locks. Its garden is harmoniously landscaped with many plants. In the midst of a small alcove of greenery, stands Henri Arnold's 1983 sculpture depicting a graceful, young woman.
Métro: Bastille.

Jardin des Champs-Elysées (Paris 8e)
Located between the Rond-point des Champs-Elysées and the Place de la Concorde, a restored and embellished garden was inaugurated in September 1994. Showcasing the skill of 19th century architects and horticulturalists, it is criss-crossed by countless paths flanked by majestic trees. Rolling lawns planted with shrubs and flower beds also adorn the garden.
Métro: Champs-Elysées Clémenceau.

Jardin des Halles (Paris 1er)
During the Second Empire, les Halles (formerly Paris' outdoor market) was comprised of ten glass-roofed, structured pavilions which were subsequently dismantled and moved to the Paris suburbs. Today, the former market has given way to climbing plants, honeysuckle, jasmin, kiwi vines, wisteria, clematis and, countless other plants. Children will be delighted by a tropical rainforest, a waterfall, a forbidden city and many other attractions.
Location: Forum des Halles, 105, rue Rambuteau, 75001 Paris. Métro: Les Halles.

Jardin du Palais Royal (Paris 1er)
Surrounded by three elegant, covered arcades, this quiet garden was the most popular place to stroll during the Revolution, and was the stage for major historical events. Lovers of contemporary sculpture will appreciate Pol Bury's steel-ball sculptures which decorate the fountains, and Daniel Buren's controversial, prison-striped columns built in 1986.
Métro: Palais Royal

Jardin des Plantes - Botanical Gardens (Paris 5e)
This enormous swath of greenery contains the botanical garden, the Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, and three natural history museums. There is also an alpine garden, an aquarium, a maze, a number of hothouses, and a small, old-fashioned zoo.
Entrances on rue Geoffroy-St-Hilaire and rue Buffon.
Admission: Zoo 30FF; Mineralogy Museum 30FF; Paleontology Museum 20FF; Entomology Museum 15FF. Hours: Garden daily 7:30am-sunset; zoo daily 9am-6pm; museums Wed.-Mon. 10am-5pm. Métro: Censier-Daubenton, Monge, or Gare d'Austerlitz. Phone: 01-40-79-30-00.

Jardin des Tuileries (Paris 1er)
Among the most popular open spaces in the city, ideal for a picnic or leisurely stroll, these neo-classical gardens once belonged to the Palais des Tuileries, which was burned down by the Communards in 1871. They were laid out in the 17th century by André Le Nôtre, who created the broad central avenue and topiary arranged in geometric designs.
Location: quai des Tuileries. Métro: Tuileries. Phone: 01-42-96-19-33.

Jardin et Palais du Luxembourg (Paris 6e)
Located not far from the Sorbonne, just south of the Latin Quarter, the Jardin du Luxembourg is one of Paris' most beloved parks, offering a myriad of fountains, statues of queens and poets, as well as tennis courts and spaces for playing boules. Children enjoy its parc à jeux (playground) and the théâtre des marionettes (puppet theater).
Location: rue de Vaugirard. Métro: Odéon, Saint-Placide. RER: Luxembourg. Buses: 42, 69, 72, 82, 87. Phone: 01-43-29-12-78.

Major parks and gardens
The Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau offers descriptions of 28 major parks and gardens in and near the city, picturesque river banks, quays and canals, memorable fountains, remarkable trees (the oldest one was planted in 1601!), and zoos.

Parc André Citroën (Paris 15e)
Located between the Seine and the new districts built on the former site of Citroën's automobile plant, this futurist park covers 14 hectares and offers visitors a succession of beautiful and varied botanical gardens, a perfect spot for a bit of rest and reverie. Water plays an integral role in the park with its fountains and waterfalls, sculptures amid the pools, and canal.
Métro: Balard.

Parc de Bagatelle (Paris 16e)
Thematic gardens reveal the art of gardening through the centuries, and the rose gardens in particular are sublime. Used as a hunting lodge by Napoleeon, the château here was built in 66 days by the Comte d'Artois following a wager with his sister-in-law, Marie Antoinette.
Métro: Porte Maillot.

Parc de Belleville (Paris 20e)
In this Right Bank district teeming with cultural diversity, you'll find turbaned men selling dates, numerous Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai restaurants, as well as a Sephartic Jewish community transplanted from Algeria and Tunisia. Overlooking it all is the new Parc de Belleville, 11 acres of gardens and paths on a hill with a spectacular view of Paris. This was Edith Piaf's former neighborhood, and she is buried -- along with numerous other cultural icons -- in the nearby Père-Lachaise Cemetary.

Parc de Bercy (Paris 12e)
Comprised primarily of vast lawns, a romantic garden, a vegetable garden, an orchard, and a scented-flower garden, the park is located on the site of the old Bercy warehouses. To the south, it is extended by a wide terrace leading toward the Seine, and is next to the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy.
Métro: Bercy . 

Parc de la Terlure (Paris 18e)
The residents of Montmartre surely aren't gawking at mimes or having their portraits sketched on the place du Tertre. Where do they go to escape the carnival? On a sunny day they might be found at the parc de la Terlure, a tranquil hideaway on rue de la Bonne, north of Sacré-Coeur.
Métro: Château Rouge.

Parc de la Villette (Paris 19e)
Until the 1970s this 130-acre site, in an unfashionable corner of northeast Paris, was home to a cattle market and abattoir (slaughterhouse). The site was transformed into an ambitiously landscaped, futuristic park with sweeping lawns, a children's playground, canopied walkways, a cinema, two museums, brightly painted pavilions, and a state-of-the-art concert hall -- the Cité de la Musique.
Métro: Porte de la Villette, Porte de Pantin.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (Paris 19e)
During the 1860s, Baron Haussmann converted this hilly site from a garbage dump and quarry -- with gallows at its foot -- into beautiful English-style gardens, replete with a lake and man-made island, a Roman-style temple, waterfall, streams, and footbridges. Today, in summer, visitors will also find boating facilities, donkey rides, and sun worshipers on the beautifully kept lawns.
Location: rue Manin, rue de Crimée. Hours: 8am-6pm daily. Métro: Botzaris, Buttes-Chaumont. Phone: 01-40-36-41-32 or 01-42-40-88-66.

Parc des Expositions de Paris (Paris 15e)
During late April to early May, a sprawling fair -- the Foire de Paris -- is held here, with hundreds of stands selling food and wine, often at excellent prices, as well as a variety of clothing and household goods; very popular with Parisians. Also the site of the Salon de l'Agriculture, an annual fair held the last week of February to the first week of March.
Métro: Porte de Versailles

Parc du Champs-de-Mars (Paris 7e)
The vast green esplanade beneath the Eiffel Tower is the Parc du Champs-de-Mars, extending all the way to the 18th-century Ecole Militaire (Military Academy), at its southeast end. This formal lawn was once a parade ground for French troops.
Métro: Trocadéro, Bir-Hakeim, or Ecole Militaire. RER: Champs-de-Mars.

Parc Monceau (Paris 8e)
A favorite haunt where Marcel Proust used to stroll, the Parc Monceau was commissioned in 1778 by Louis Philippe Joseph, duc de Chartres et Orléans, who was guillotined after the Revolution. After the painter Carmontelle designed several whimsical accoutrements for the park -- including a Dutch windmill, a Roman temple, a farm, medieval ruins, and a pagoda -- the place became known as "Chartres' folly." Garnerin, the world's first parachutist, landed here.
Location: boulevard de Courcelles. Métro: Monceau. Phone: 01-42-27-39-56 or 01-42-27-08-64.

Parc Georges Brassens (Paris 15e)
On the site of the former Vaugirard
abbatoirs (slaughterhouses), the horse market hallway and the two bull statues have been retained at the original entrance. Planted with many fragrant shrubs and plants. You can also discover terraced vines and a scented garden.
Métro: Convention.

Parc Montsouris (Paris 14e)
This English-style park, the second largest in Paris, was laid out by landscape architect Adolphe Alphand between 1865 and 1878. A favorite place for students and young children, it offers a restaurant, lawns, and a lake inhabited by many different species of birds.
Location: boulevard Jourdan. Hours: 7:30am-7pm daily. Métro: Porte d'Orléans. RER: Cité Universitaire. Phone: 01-45-88-28-60.

Place des Vosges / Square Louis XIII (Paris 4e)
Located in the historical Marais neighborhood, place des Vosges is planted with linden trees and lawns which are criss-crossed by symmetrical paths. The Ginard fountain, whose waters were drawn from the canal de l'Ourq, was inaugurated in 1811. In 1829, it was replaced by a marble, equestrian statue of Louis XIII. In 1835, the four Ménager fountains were installed.
Métro: Chemin Vert, Saint-Paul.

Square des Arènes de Lutèce (Paris 5e)
Made out of cut stone, the Lutetia Arena was built in the late first century AD, during the Gallo-Roman period, for circus and theatrical presentations. It is surrounded by a thicket of greenery. Shows and plays are staged in this garden during the summer.
Location: rue de Navarre, 75005 Paris. Métro: Jussieu.

Square du Vert-Galant (Paris 1er)
The Ile-de-la-Cité is shaped very much like a ship (hence the symbol for Paris is a boat), and at its "bow" -- the western tip -- is the Square du Vert-Galant (Henri IV's nickname), next to the Pont Neuf. It is planted with a wide variety of trees and flowers.
Métro: Pont-Neuf

The Tuileries Gardens - a short dark history
"It is not in the fall of the Bastille but in the slaughter in the Tuileries that the French Revolution made its mark." In her article hosted by the Paris Pages, Jacqueline Donnelly explores the contradictions of a park where today lovers meet and children play, but which yesterday was the site of a great massacre, the extension of a royal palace and a royal prison. (SEE ALSO: The Siege of Paris)

Version française - Parcs et jardins
Pariscope provides descriptions of the above parks & gardens in French.


Edited by Ian C. Mills ©1998-2000 All Rights Reserved
Bibliography and recommended reading: Paris From $70 A Day, Jeanne Oliver, 1998, Macmillan Travel, A Simon & Schuster Macmillan Company, New York. Fodor's 99 Paris, Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc., published in the U.S. by Random House, Inc., New York. Eyewitness Travel Guides -- France, Editor: Rosemary Bailey, 1994, Dorling Kindersley Publishing Inc., New York. The Real Guide - Paris (Revised), Kate Baillie & Tim Salmon, 1992, Prentice Hall, division of Simon & Schuster Inc., New York (out-of-print). The TimeOut Paris Guide (2nd Edition), Penguin Books USA Inc., New York (out-of-print). Exploring Paris, Fiona Dunlop, Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc., New York. Paris Tourist Office (web site).

Introduction to Paris Parks & Gardens












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