When you’re in Paris and you need a break, want to rest or feel a need to chill, then head to one of the many parks or green areas.
From the Tuileries to the Jardins Luxembourg and the Bois de Boulogne – the list is long for lovely parks and gardens. Grab a baguette, a bottle of wine, some ham, cheese and a delicious gateau and simply flop down on a bench or one of the famous green chairs you’ll find in all parks. The chairs were introduced to Paris parks in 1954 and they’re as stylish today as they were then and somehow they never seem to disappear. Only sit on the grass if there are no signs telling you to keep off, the park keepers can be fierce if you ignore them!
Parc de Villette
One of my favourite parks on a sunny day is Parc de Villette. Close by, alongside the Quai de la Seine there are loads of bars and places to sit and just while away an hour or two. You’ll be entertained by the watching the world go by on skates, feet, bikes and boats…
Jardins de Luxembourg
The Jardins de Luxembourg are home to the magnificent Medici Fountain. There are also tennis courts, enormous boules area, play park, seats galore and wonderful views. A great park for people watching.
Parc Monceau was created in 1778 by a nobleman. It features statues of famous French writers and composers. You’ll also find an Egyptian pyramid, Chinese fort, Dutch windmill and Corinthian pillars. This park is great to relax and unwind in lovely surroundings in the heart of the city, it’s a real little oasis. Find out more about Parc Monceau
Bois de Boulogne
A former hunting ground for the Kings of France, the Bois de Boulogne is a huge and very popular place for Parisians to relax in. Known as the ‘lungs’ of the capital, this green space encompasses the Parc de Bagatelle, the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, the Pré-Catelan and the Jardin d’Acclimatation. It offers numerous walkways, 28 km of bridleways and 15 km of touristic cycle routes. There are numerous facilities such as playgrounds for childre and the Musée en Herbe. Great picnic areas, bicycle hire and boat hire on the Lac Inférieur make it even more fun. There are also the Auteuil and Longchamp racecourses, restaurants and the Théâtre de Verdure.
Jardins de Tuilieries
The Tuileries Gardens are to be found in front of the Louvre – they’ve been there since 1564. It’s a fun place to sit on the typically Parisian green chairs and day dream listening to the soothing sound of a boules game. Wander and admire the sculptures for free and relish the tranquil green space in the heart of the city.
Take a walk on the side or rather wild sidings! Once busy railways tracks that were abandoned and then allowed to return to nature make for a rewarding place to wander. Sometimes high in the sky, sometimes hidden away, these tracks offer a spectacular walk through the city hand in hand with nature. Read about the Petite Ceinture railway section nature walkway that feels as if you’re in the country in the heart of Paris.
Isle Aux Allée des Cygnes
Right next to the Eiffel Tower, the Allée des Cygnes is a pedestrian route down a man-made island. It’s right in the middle of the Seine between the 15th and 16th arrondissements. On it you’ll find a replica statue of Liberty, great views and a fascinating place to wander. (Read more about this finger shaped island in the Seine: Allée des Cygnes)
Place du Marché Sainte Catherine
If you’re in the Marais district head to the Place du Marché Sainte Catherine. It’s a small tree-lined square away from the main streets with a village vibe. It has plenty of little bistros and cafés with tables outside and is great for people watching – keep it to yourselves though, it’s got a special feel!
Place Jean Paul XXIII
In the shadow of the huge Cathedral of Notre Dame is a tiny square filled with flowers. It’s the perfect place to sit and wonder at the magnificence of this church that has stood here for more than 800 years.
A 19th century canal criss crossed by pretty iron bridges and pedestrianised tree-lined walkways. It’s a great place for a picnic, a wander, a shady lazy afternoon and with loads of trendy bistros, cafés and restaurants along the 4.5km route – this is one of the nicest places to while away a few hours in Paris enjoying a spot of nature and tranquility. Read more about the Canal St-Martin
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