A Relaxing Stroll in the Promenade Plantée, an Unusual Paris Garden:
The Jardin des Tuileries, Luxemburg Gardens and Bois de Vincennes are all historical Paris parks and gardens that tourists are familiar with. One relatively new Paris Coulée Verte or green space that is somewhat of a secret garden is the Promenade Plantée. Not many tourists find their way to this charming and unusual garden walkway in the 12th arrondissement, but it is a most pleasant green space to take a stroll and chill out from the hustle and bustle of Paris.
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée and the Viaduc des Arts were created in the 1990s, making use of an old run-down railroad viaduct. The railroad linked Place de la Bastille to Varenne-Saint-Maur for over 100 years and when it ceased operation in 1969, the rail infrastructure was left to deteriorate for a couple of decades.
The Promenade Plantée, a beautiful garden walkway, was later created along the top of the viaduct and its 64 arches were refurbished to house the Viaduc des Arts, an arts and crafts precinct with furniture and art restoration workshops and other interior design shops. There are also many cafés and other shops here.
A Unique Paris Garden
The Promenade Plantée stretches for about 4.5 km from the Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes. You will mostly see locals here reading a book, enjoying some sun, going for a stroll or jogging. The trees along the walkway provide some relief from the hot summer sun and the beautiful arches of roses, mandevillas and other flowers add splashes of colour to the Promenade. Along the way are various apartment blocks which give an interesting perspective on Paris housing and its architecture. Some of these apartments also enjoy the green views of the Promenade Plantée. One somewhat unusual sight is a police station, decorated with fourteen large statues which are reproductions of Michelango’s “Dying Slave”.
You do not have to walk the entire 4.5 km length of the Promenade Plantée as along the way there are steps that lead you back down to the street level of Avenue Daumesnil. There are a couple of lifts that are supposed to take people up and down, but the two that we checked were not working.
The most interesting section of the Promenade Plantée, from a garden perspective, is the first 1.5 km from the Place de la Bastille. However, we continued walking past the apartment buildings and finally reached the Jardin de Reuilly, a beautiful green park where locals from the nearby housing estate come to enjoy the outdoors. Here, you’ll experience the non-tourist side of Paris. From the Jardin de Reuilly we carried on walking through a housing estate and finally reached the Daumesnil Metro where we caught the train back.
How to Get to Promenade Plantée
The closest Métro to Promenade Plantée is Bastille (Lines 1 and 5). From outside the Opera Bastille you will see signs pointing to the Promenade Plantée and you’ll find the entrance to the walkway from Avenue Daumesnil.