1. Jardin Tuileries
As we have learned in a previous blog The Tuileries, located in the 1st district, is the oldest garden in Paris. It is also the largest stretching from the Place de Concorde to the Louvre Museum. During the 17th Century it was surrounded by the Tuileries Palace, which unfortunately has not survived to our times. The garden was added to the French list of monuments of history in 1914 and is on the UNESCO list as well. Jardin des Tuileries is always full of locals and visitors alike walking and relaxing. You can sit on one of many chairs watching families with children playing with miniature boats, or admire the sculptures of Coustou or Rodin, or simply bathe in the sun and have a true Parisian picnic! Beware of the little red ghost known to haunt these famous gardens! You can learn more about him on our “Scandals and Controversies in the Louvre” guided tour.
2. Jardin du Luxembourg
Located in the 6th district, it surrounds the Luxembourg Palace, which is the seat of the Senate. It is the second largest urban garden in Paris (just after the Tuilleries). It was uilt in 1630 by Maria Medicci, widow of the French King Henry IV, in the eighteenth century and fell into ruin, but was restored at the behest of Napoleon, by the architect of the Arc de Triomphe Jean Chalgrin. In the garden you can find over 100 sculptures, including the first model of the Statue of Liberty (yes, yes, the one from New York!). A series of twenty sculptures depicting French queens and saints were placed around the central pool. In addition, you can find there tennis courts, puppet theater and … 4800 chairs and sun loungers. The perfect place to relax like a local.
3. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
This is a favorite of many Parisians! This park, located in the 19th distrcit, was built in the 1860s on the initiative of Georges Haussmann, the initiator of the Great Reconstruction of Paris in 1852-1870.This beautiful park was built on the old…garbage dump – yes! But it positively surprises everyone who visits it for the first time. The mountainous and forested area has many paths, gentle hills ideal for lounging, stunning views of the city. In addition to emerald lawns and exotic trees and shrubs, attention should be paid to the Sybilli temple, a cave with a water cascade and a large artificial lake. What’s more, you will find there a restaurant, two theaters and a playground. One of the theaters, Le Théâtre Guignol Anatole, has been operating for over 110 years. Every year, at the beginning of autumn, the park hosts the short film festival “Silhouette”.
4. Bois de Vincennes
This park, located in the 12th district, is called “The Green Lungs of Paris” and is a remnant of the primeval forest that grew up in Paris in ancient times. On its site you will find four lakes (after a picnic I recommend that you sail a boat on the lake Daumesnil). You will also find there a zoo and the opportunity to ride a horse or pony. On the other side of the park you will discover the picturesque Vincennes castle and the Floral Park, which is a paradise for lovers of lush vegetation in a truly Japanese style. You will find here proud peacocks, an exhibition of centuries-old bonsai trees, waterfalls and a music scene where jazz concerts take place.
5. Bois de Boulogne
It is the largest and one of the most popular parks in Paris also called “The Green Lungs of Paris”. Bois de Boulogne is located in the west part of the city, in the elite 16th district, and is one of the favourite Parisian picnic spots. There are several visitor attractions, such as tennis courts and the Louis Vuitton Museum. You can also go boating, roller-blading or cycling, sign up for a horse riding club and even go fishing. New Yorkers will be interested to know this park was the inspiration and a model for Central Park in NYC, but it is bigger and more “natural”.