5 of the best Parisian gardens

5 of the best Parisian gardens

Take a well-deserved break in one of Paris’s many open green spaces

 

1. Le Jardin des Plantes

Busy cities can often feel stifling – especially when you have kids in tow. Le Jardin des Plantes (jardindesplantes.net) in the fifth arrondissement is a breath of fresh, healing air in the heart of hazy Paris. King Louis XIII, who was chronically ill, granted permission to two of his physicians, Jean Hérouand and Guy de la Brosse, to create a royal medicinal herb garden. A school of botany was added, and the gardens officially opened to the public in 1640. Today, couples walk arm-in-arm down the double alley of plane trees, as flower fanatics admire the peony and rose gardens, and families and office workers alike seek out a spot of shade in which to enjoy a picnic. The garden’s sprinklers also make it a great place to cool off. Adding to its appeal for families are the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (mnhn.fr) and a small zoo.

 

2. Le Jardin d’Acclimatation

If Disneyland Paris is too loud and large for your tastes, then steer yourself instead towards Le Jardin d’Acclimatation (jardindacclimatation.fr), France’s first amusement and leisure park, for a long stroll down memory lane. Intent on preserving its 19th-century heritage, the 20 hectares of grounds evoke a bygone era when life’s simpler pleasures were embraced. Here, you’ll find pony rides, archery, a house of mirrors, a miniature-golf course, a little train, a puppet theatre, shooting galleries, a science museum, a children’s art museum and a delightfully quaint carousel. It’s a bit like being stuck in a time warp. And it’s wonderful.

 

3. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71468/Parc-des-Buttes-Chaumont) is a fairy-tale park with rocky hillocks, regal trees, hypnotic waterfalls, a (possibly haunted) grotto, a colourful carousel, a handful of playgrounds, and a theatre dedicated to puppet, marionette and guignol shows, as well as picnic-perfect lawns.  

 

Let the kids’ imaginations run riot at the intriguing Temple de la Sibylle, which hovers above a peak in the centre of the lake. Accessed by two bridges, kids can channel their favourite Goonies character as they psych themselves up to cross the one that’s suspended 21 metres above the water.

 

4. Champ-de-Mars

Next to the Eiffel Tower, you’ll find the Champ-de-Mars (en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71152/Parc-du-Champ-de-Mars), a large public space that, for many kids, is more impressive than the tower itself. With pedal cars, a vintage merry-go-round, an impressive playground and donkey rides, you can also appease nagging little tummies at one of the areas hidden gems: La Bonbonnière de Marie (labonbonnieredemarie.fr), secreted down Allée Adrienne Lecouvreur on the north-eastern edge of the park. It serves excellent crêpes and salads, with a striking view of the tower thrown in for no extra charge.

 

5. Jardins du Trocadéro

Between the Palais de Chaillot and the Eiffel Tower, you’ll discover the Jardins du Trocadéro (en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71144/Jardins-du-Trocadero), formerly the garden of the old Palais du Trocadéro. Here, kids can be kids, splashing in the fountains and playing on the swings and in the sandboxes. While you’re in the neighbourhood, it’s worth checking out anthropology museum Musée de l’Homme (museedelhomme.fr) and L’Aquarium de Paris (cineaqua.com).

 

Source: Condé Nast Traveller Middle East

 

Additional resources

Things to see