When spring comes to Paris, there’s nothing like wandering through gardens and parks to enjoy the sun. I like to think that I know a thing or two about outdoor (and free) leisure, so here are the 5 most beautiful parks you should visit in Paris.
1. Luxembourg Gardens
Tired of walking down the streets of Paris? What could be better than resting your feet in the gorgeous Luxembourg Gardens, located right in the heart of the city? Nothing, that’s what.
Created in 1612 at the request of Queen Marie de Médicis, this magnificent 56-acre park is split into French gardens and English gardens. Come with friends or family (or both!) to enjoy the green lawns, colorful flowers and the 106 statues scattered all over the place. If you’re looking for the ultimate French experience, bring a good bottle of wine and play chess or bridge. After that, you can take a 10-minute walk toward the Panthéon and explore the tombs of famous French personalities!
2. Place des Vosges
This is the little marvel of Le Marais, a great neighborhood that’s no lightweight in terms of attractions! The Place des Vosges is one the oldest squares in Paris and definitely one of the loveliest in the city of lovers.
It isn’t very big, but wandering along the arches or breaking bread in this park surrounded by beautiful old red brick buildings is quite fantastic! Don’t miss the chance to visit the Centre Pompidou or the Musée National Picasso-Paris – both are only a few minutes away on foot!
3. Trocadéro Garden
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first walked into this garden. Seeing the stunning Eiffel Tower so close by is magical!
Created for the Universal Exposition in 1937, this space of around 10,000 m2 features a number of sculptures and the famous Warsaw fountains, which offer a remarkable water display with its 20 water cannons. Don’t forget your camera to show your friends that you really went there! Then, head toward the Arc de Triomphe and enjoy the incredible views of one of the most stunning cities in the world.
4. Tuileries Garden
If you like the French formal gardens, this one is for you! Designed by the same architect that designed the world-famous gardens at Versailles, it has perfectly manicured lawns, trees and graveled paths. And the icing on the cake? The great views of the Luxor Obelisk and the Arc de Triomphe (no wonder this is a UNESCO World Heritage site!).
The gardens are an outdoor cultural experience for Parisians and tourists where Maillol masterpieces stand alongside Rodin and Giacometti statues. When you’re done, don’t miss the superb art collections at the Louvre Museum or the Orangerie Museum nearby.
5. Bois de Vincennes
Paris’ hustle and bustle can be exhilarating, I admit it. However, if you need a break, the Bois de Vincennes is the perfect way to combine Paris sightseeing with a literal ‘breath of fresh air’. This huge and lovely park is very different from the others. Less tame and landscaped, half of its 995 hectares is made up of wooded areas and the rest consists of four lakes and endless lawns.
Many activities are available: boats, canoes and bicycles rentals, pony rides, and exhibitions to name a few. It’s located in the eastern outskirts of Paris, but easily accessible by metro. Trust me, the journey is worth it! And while you’re here, check out the former French royal family castle, the Château de Vincennes.