A lot of crooners sung the song ‘I love Paris in the springtime’. Actually, the lyrics are about Paris’ beauty all year round. But for green Paris lovers, spring is when it all starts. The chestnuts and paulownia’s are in bloom. On the squares, in the parks and along the quays of the Seine people are sitting, gallivanting, enjoying outdoor life.
Plus: Paris is re-inventing itself all the time rapidly, like all big capitals, so new trends are starting and developed here. Also the green ones.
I went end of April / beginning of May and have tons of tips for you. See which green spots and ideas I discovered in the French capital.
1. Le Marais
In this former Jewish quarter, you’ll find streets with all kinds of original shops. But also quite some green places. Like courtyards, gardens, parks, squares and of course the famous Place des Vosges.
Fresh jungles in the middle of Paris.
My green heart always gets drawn to parks and squares in the cities I visit 💚 It’s where you find peace, where yo can hide from the buzz.
There’s three green parks in one street, Rue Payenne: 1. Jardin Lazare-Ratchine 2. Square George Cain 3. Square Leopold Achille.
Have a peek in the hidden courtyards, look up for the facades overgrown with vine or balconies with planters.
Sharp shapes on the Place des Vosges, the most famous square in Le Marais.
Details of street green in Le Marais.
2. Eleventh arrondissement
This is the bohemian area, with indie shops, wine bars, brunch cafes, outdoor terraces and green shops. Quite hip and happening.
Streets for shopping, wining and dining: Rue Keller, Rue Froment, Rue des Taillandiers.
Buy local and bio in the blue shop of Saveurs & Vous in Rue Keller.
It is not really an option to take a calathea or maranta inthis awesome basket home, so I’ll take a picture from the shopwindow of Maison Aimable.
Nice shop for green thumbs: Welcome Bio Bazar.
A sweet boutique for green (girly) peeps is Les Fleurs in Passage Josset.
Palm and basil are welcoming you.
3. Île de la Cité
This island is the place where Paris was founded. It is known for the 850 year old cathedral Notre-Dame. Not that connue is the flower market Marché aux Fleurs.
Here you find one of the famous Jugendstil / Art Nouveau metro signs.
In the background: pretty paulownia trees in lilac bloom.
Bienvenue au Marché aux Fleurs, only open in the mornings.
The Parisian flower and plant market also helps with learning some French plant names, like oeuillets d’Inde is the French name for marigolds.
Watch the hedera (ivy) detail on the lampposts.
You might discover some ‘new’ flowers like I did: lewisia.
4. Jardin des Plantes
If you go for green, go for the Jardin des Plantes. Free to visit and there’s lots to see. If you want to spend some money, there’s even more to discover. You might need a day (or two). There are several glasshouses, museums, theme gardens and a zoo. Just choose…
Posh Parisian poppies collage.
Imagine a huge garden full of poppies in yellow, white, orange and some baby pink.
The name of the yellow one is Papavre Nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles Yellow’.
Don’t you dare to pick one!
The alpine garden is a bit hidden, but you’ll find it!
The best barn ever 💚
The Ecole de Botanique-garden (in front of the big round greenhouse) gives a view on all kinds of plants. In the back there’s the tree collection. It looks and smells like the south of France… That feel comes from the impressive Lebanon cedar (Cedrus libani). It dates from 1734, when botanist Antoine de Jussieu smuggled the (than little – I assume) tree to Paris in his hat. That’s the story…
Nice to know: a lot of plants have been donated by the Ferme de Sainte Marthe that specialises in bio seeds and old vegetables.
Lilac iris on the left and right: the Phacelia tanacetifolia, a gorgeous purple thing! And great for the bees 💜🐝💜 💜 and a plant that is good for most (I learned from Instagram-gardeners).
There’s also a rose garden. A few roses are already in full bloom.
Structures. Not only the green is great, so are the glass house buildings, packed with (sub)tropical jewels like a huge monstera.
I took a ticket for the Grandes Serres + Galerie de Botanique.
In the collection of the Galerie de Botanique the display is not large, but offers enough botanical treasures, like herbariums, mysterious plant stuff in bottles, leaf fossils, really strange fruits and seeds, etc.
Garden details: the gates, the logo, and a statue of botanist and vegetarian (mid 18th century!) Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre.
Left below: detail of one of the illustrations on the explanation panels. I assume it (Ginkgo biloba) used to be green…
Look how brill the tickets for the Grandes Serres & Galerie de Botanique look…
The program of the Jardin des Plantes is immense. There’s three museums: on evolution, paleontology & anatomy, mineralogy & geology. Plus there’s a zoo. And events, exhibitions, films, conferences, lectures, etc.
5. Jardin du Luxembourg
A very pretty city park, with lots of hidden spots to read a book on one of the green chairs you can take to a cosy corner. Or: go for people watching on the large square.
Chairs, statues. Take a book, or take a look.
Definitely a trending topic in Paris: the papavre. Saw it in the Jardin des Plantes, see it here.
There’s even an insect hotel. A large one!
Impressive statues everywhere, like this modernistic / kubist one from Ossip Zadkine, an artist from the same age as Picasso.
6. River Seine
Along the river Seine you should go for some flaner, some strolling. Or sit down by the waterside. Wave to the people on the boats passing by, or take a boat yourself. I did it and it was fun!
This is an apple tree: Reinette du Canada Blanche 🍏
On the northern quays along the Seine river, near the Pont Marie, some fruit trees and vines have been planted. Quite adventurous, in a way… How many apples will grow up here in peace? In this busy part of town?
Not to be missed. The icon of the city is the Tour Eiffel forever. For the first time I went up to the top. What a stunning view!
The iron icon matches well with tree green and blue skies.
Look at all those people having a picnic in the park below the Eiffel-Tower.
8. Urban green
And while walking, I spotted a lot of urban green ideas.
Urban green initiatives: from kitchen gardens right on the pavement in front of the pharmacy or bus stop, to creative outdoor terraces with large planters.
Wealthy balconies spotted with my ‘spy-camera’ right from the Eiffel-Tower.
Green dressed window of Habitat Paris in Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine.
Those vivid floral tiles are on the bakery shop of Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Landemaine, on Boulevard Beaumarchais 28. This baker owns more shops in Paris and offers tasty local bread, TOP tartins (fruit cakes) and sandwiches: ideal for your park picnic.
See the cardboard carrots? They’re super decoration in the windows of Le BHV Marais. This department store has started a green campaign for everyone who dreams of an allotment and some farming one day… they can start now! The roof of the building is now available for planting: Le Jardin Perché. And there is more green inspiration to discover on the BHV website 💚
Naturally, I made a flatlay of some green findings.
More Green Paris tips from Insta-followers
Followers that saw me saunter trough the city (which wasn’t hard to neglect with my binge posting) gave me a lot of more tips on green spots. Those go on my list for next visit. Do you have green Paris tips? Do send it to me.
- Esther / @emuze > “Go to lovely store Merci on the Boulevard Beaumarchais, with also a collection for garden(er)s.”
- Sébastien / @seb_gardener > “Go to the always open and free Open Sculpture Museum – my work place – on the Rive Gauche in between the bridges Pont de Sully and Pont d’Austerltz (Quai Saint-Bernard), especially in the evenings: the sun is there and people dance, like tango, salsa, folklore or even rock.”
- Wouter / @in_de_moestuin > “Go to the Jardins du Caroussel et Tuileries, the gardens of The Louvre museum + to the cute bonsai-store in Montparnasse.”
- Susanne / @Biobite > “Eat healthy & veggy at the bistro Abattoir Végétal in the Rue Ramey 61 + shop green stuff at Naturalia.”
- Ronald / @RonaldWassenaar > “Also interesting is the Jardin de Botanique.”
New guide to find peaceful city corners
The book Paris au Calme (only in French) just has been published and leads you to the calm places of the city. I found the little Marais parks in it. It is for sale in several bookshops, also online. Find some info on this website.
Hiking tour from Dutch railways
The NS has made a cityhike tour from park to park in Paris, only in Dutch. Download it here:
More green Paris parks that I visited before
I have been to Paris a couple of times in my life, lucky me. There’s four parks I also can recommend:
- Parc Monceau, 8th arrondissement, romantic park in landscape style with so called ‘follies’: fun buildings like a windmill and a Egyptian pyramid. Metro Monceau.
- Parc André Citroën, 15th arrondissement, modern park from the nineties (placed on the former Citroën construction plants) that has been extended in 2014. There’s a cable balloon that takes you up 150 meters. Metro Javel.
- Parc de la Vilette, 9th arrondissement, modern park on the grounds of the former Parisian abattoirs, with ten theme gardens and a science museum: Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. Metro Porte de Pantin.
- Parc Des Buttes-Chaumont 19th arrondissement, opened in 1876, constructed on the site of a former chalk quarry. It has curvy paths, an impressive hill with a small temple on top, a grotto, ponds, two bridges and even an island. Metro Buttes Chaumont.
General information about green Paris
- There’s an online green (bio) cityguide called Parisobiotiful.com.
- Really really really into plants and planting? Look at this calendar of fairs and events.
And final, sing along with Frank: