By Theadora Brack in Paris—
Visiting Paris this summer? If so, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses! Throughout the city, you’ll find parks, squares and gardens. While on holiday, time is precious. I hear you! So to help out, I’ve created a list of favorite parks, along with the monuments, museums and shopping districts that surround them. Day tripping just got easier!
Oh, so hub-able
While touring, parks are the perfect spots for resting and picnicking. Tip! Grocery stores in Paris like Monoprix, Franprix, and Carrefour now have smaller “Mini Me” boutiques scattered throughout Paris. With ease, you’ll be able to stock up on fresh salads, sandwiches, and cold beverages. There’s also fromageries and patisseries! Bon Appétit.
1. Jardin du Luxembourg
6th arrondissement (Metro: Notre-Dame des Champs, Rennes or Vavin)
Fashioned by Queen Marie de Médici and garden guru Boyeau de La Bareaudière with a Florentine twist during the 17th century, it’s my favorite park.
Gossip! In the years before Hemingway could afford to shoot lions in Africa, he hunted urban birdlife here. Back in his salad days, Luxembourg was known for its voluptuous pigeons! “We got a little tired of pigeon that winter but they filled many a void,” Hem wrote.
Before or after your own moveable feast in the park, I recommend visiting the Musée du Luxembourg, the Église Saint-Sulpice, or the Musée de Cluny. The Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Panthéon are also fine options. Let’s not forget to mention the kitschy Latin Quarter. Don’t hate me because I think this touristic hotspot is beautiful!
2. Jardin des Tuileries
1st arrondissement (Metro: Tuileries, Concorde, Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre, Pyramides?)
And speaking of royal creations, here’s another one! Created by Catherine de Médici (with a slight Italian flair) in the 16th century, the Jardin de Tuileries was given a redo by landscape architect André Le Nôtre during the Sun King’s reign. After the Big Wigs’ big move to Versailles, it became one of the first public parks.
Dig the Musée d’Orsay? Cross the river Seine at Pont Royal or Pont de Solférino. Want more? The Petit Palais and the Grand Palais are also in walking distance.
3. Jardin du Palais Royal
1st arrondissement (Metro Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre)
Here you’ll find beaucoup de benches, a fountain and a music box shop! Back in the day, writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette held court here. Some claim to still hear the tapping of her typewriter keys. Keep your little eye peeled for the historic plaque marking where she lived.
Nearby, you’ll find the Musée du Louvre, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and the Musée des Arts de la Mode, along with Place de la Concorde, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Palais Royal Musée. Shopping enthusiasts, the hustling, bustling Châtelet shopping district is located just a few blocks away.
4. Jardin des Plantes
5th arrondissement (Metro Monge, Jussieu or Gare d’Austerlitz)
I’ve spent entire days here. Created in the 17th century as a medicinal herb garden for the King Louis XIII, it’s chockfull of flowers, statues and ancient trees. Also in the area, you’ll be able to explore the Arènes de Lutèce, the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle, and the Institut du Monde Arabe, along with the Mosquée de Paris.
Tip! Check out its gift shop and restaurant. Their couscous is among the best in the city!
5. Square de la Trinité
9th arrondissement (Metro: Saint-Trinité)
Located in the quaint “Nouvelle Athènes” area, the square is not to be missed! Its clown murals never failed to make me smile! Here in the historic neighborhood, you’ll also find the Musée Gustave Moreau (the artist’s studio and house), along with the Musée de la Vie Romantique.
Formerly the home of painter Ary Scheffer, it now features works from the Romantic Movement in art and literature. Yes, here is where George Sand, Chopin, Delacroix, Liszt, and Rossini would gather and gab. Interested in the Moulin Rouge or the Musée de l’Erotisme? Hotfoot it directly uphill!
6. Square Jehan-Rictus
18th arrondissement (Metro: Abbesses)
Nestled in Abbesses, you’ll find the intimate square, along with its “J’taime Wall.” Created by Frederic Baron and Claire Kito, the phrase “I Love You” in 250 languages is inscribed on glazed blue tiles.
7. Square du Vert-Galant
1st arrondissement (Metro: Pont Neuf, Cité or Saint-Michel)
Let’s now stroll to another favorite centuries-old romantic hotspot, le Square du Vert-Galant at the tip of the Île de la Cité. How did the park get its name? Parisians gave the little tear-drop-shaped park the flamboyant King Henri IV’s nickname, “Vert-Galant,” or “Gay Blade,” since he was larger than life, compassionate, and wildly loved!
Just beyond the le Square du Vert-Galant, you’ll find the downstream tip of the Île de la Cité. Pick a spot on the stone ledge and then settle yourself down for some smooth bateaux-cruise watching. What else can be spotted? Notre Dame and the Musée du Louvre. Feel up for a stroll? The Centre Georges Pompidou, the Hotel de Ville, and the Musée de Cluny are also worth the trek!
Where do you park it?
Do you have a favorite park in Paris? Do tell us in our comments section!
Also in our guide: If you’re planning an upcoming trip to Paris and looking for an affordable hotel, do swing by to our Paris guide to read our expert reviews of budget hotels in Paris. Each of them has been visited, inspected and approved by one of our editors.