The Jardin des Plantes is both a botanical garden in a scientific sense and also a leisure space for the residents and denizens of Lille. Located in the southern part of the city, it was inaugurated in 1948. It has a tropical greenhouse, a rose garden, trees, and shrubs grouped according to their region of origin as well as wonderful walking paths winding through it all. Admission is free and generous opening hours from 8 am to 9 pm (April to September) and 8 am to 6:30 pm (October to March). The park does close during inclement weather, but most won’t be out during a run then anyways.
Parc de la Citadelle
Lille’s largest park covers a huge area of 70 hectares (around 173 acres). Even though the park surrounding the famous star-shaped fortress of the Citadelle is a highly popular spot, there are peaceful running routes away from the main attractions like the zoo or the children’s playground. There’s even a workout area with fitness equipment.
Created in 1863, the Vauban Garden is designated as a historical monument. Although it was designed by Parisian landscape architect Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps, the park is inspired by English-style landscaping. Its winding paths go along the shrubbery that offers a serene and inviting atmosphere in the heart of the city.
Parc Henri Matisse
The park, dedicated to famous French painter Henri Matisse, is the most contemporary of all the beautiful parks in Lille and has a more geometric style. It was designed by Gilles Clément on the principle of a garden in motion evolving with the seasons. The different levels of the grounds allow for panoramic views of the city.
This is a bit further out in the neighbouring community of Villeneuve d’Ascq, just 7km (4.3 miles) from Lille’s centre. Totally worth the extra mileage for its 10km (6.2 miles) of walking paths across 110 hectares (271.8 acres) of picture-perfect parkland around the lake.