It can be easy to get caught up in the 'busyness' of a big city when you're flitting from place to place, whether on business or just soaking up the sights. The perfect respite? Opt for some downtime in one of the beautiful local parks or gardens for a sense of escapism and a chance to witness the city from a new perspective.
Paris has so many parks to discover, dotted all over the city. Wander, sit on one of the park benches for a breather, or pack a blanket, some cheese and a bottle of wine for the ultimate Parisian park experience.
Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil
Rare plants, remarkable trees, a palm house and beautiful aviary can be found at the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, a pleasant spot for plant lovers and gardeners. One of four botanical gardens maintained by the City of Paris, it is organised around a huge parterre in traditional French style with five greenhouses of 19th century architecture built around this central area. Guided tours are run by the City of Paris year-round, and a classical music festival is held in the garden every year.
Jardin des Tuileries
After admiring the artworks of Monte at the Musee de l’Orangereie, head to the Tuileries Gardens for a spot of relaxation alongside the garden’s two ponds. The gardens, which separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde, are landscaped in a French formal style and are a cultural walking place for Parisians and tourists.
Parc de Belleville
Walk to the summit of the Parc de Belleville for the most stunning view of the city. The park also has a 100m long waterfall fountain, the longest in Paris, ping-pong tables, expanses of greenery for picnics and relaxation and an open-air theatre, while children will love the wooden playground and keen gardeners can admire the display of annual flowers.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Children will love the many activities and facilities on offer at the Luxembourg Gardens, including puppets, rides and slides, while adults, whether Parisians or tourists, can play chess, tennis, bridge or remote controlled boats. Inspired by the Boboli Gardens in France, the Luxembourg Gardens cover 25ha of land, split into French and English gardens. Between the gardens lies a forest and large pond and there’s also an apiary and greenhouses with a collection of orchids and a rose garden.
Jardin des Plantes
Travel back in time at the main botanical garden in France. Home to four museums and a small zoo, the gardens originally served as a medicinal herb garden for French royalty and today it maintains a botanical school along with thousands of different plant species, including a rose garden, created in 1990, with hundreds of species of roses and rose trees.
Bois de Vincennes
Created between 1855 and 1866 by the Emperor Napoleon III, the Bois de Vincennes offers plenty of opportunities to relax, have fun or play sport. The park contains an English landscape garden with four lakes, one of which visitors can go for a boat ride, a zoo, an arboretum with about 2000 trees, a botanical garden, a horse racing track and cycling stadium.
Bois de Boulogne
Hire a bike and feel like royalty exploring The Bois de Boulogne, a former hunting ground for the Kings of France. Along with 15km of touristic cycle routes, the park boasts numerous walkways and 28km of bridleways, along with playgrounds for children, picnic areas, boat hire for the park’s largest lake, the Lac Inferieur, restaurants and an outdoor theatre.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Caves and waterfalls, a suspended bridge, exotic Indigenous trees and numerous birds and stunning views of the city from its hilly setting; The Buttes-Chaumont Park offers a charming spot to unwind away from all the usual tourist hotspots. Take a blanket and a book and relax by the large artificial lake, wander the many paths and marvel the park’s most famous feature, the Temple de la Sibylle, inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, perched at the top of a cliff 50m above the waters of the lake.
Parc Andre Citroen
One of the newest parks in Paris, the Parc Andre Citroen is a modern site offering a beautiful view of the Seine, and the only green space in the city opening directly onto the river. Discover numerous exotic trees and rare plants, two impressive greenhouses, and let the little ones take advantage of the ball-games area, ping pong tables, spring-based toys and toboggans. There is even a tethered air balloon offering a 150m high ride for children and adults, offering incredible outlooks of some of the city’s notable monuments.
Dating back to the 17th century, the Parc Monceau is today ones of the most elegant parks in Paris. Enter through a wrought iron gate embellished with gold and find many surprises – numerous statues, a Renaissance archway belonging to the former Paris City Hall, a wide variety of birds and a large pond. Surrounded by luxury buildings and mansions, the park is peaceful and pleasant and also features children’s playgrounds.