Known as ‘Les Jardins Nocturnes’, or Night Gardens, the program will come into effect on Saturday, July 1, and finish on Sunday, September 3. As well as increasing the capital’s already impressive romance quotient – what with all the additional opportunities for late-night picnics, midnight strolls, and, dare we say it, rustling in the bushes – the move has been made as part of a city-wide ‘cooling initiative’.
Faced with the prospect of heatwaves akin to those endured in 2003, 2006, and 2015, City Hall is keen to ensure that it adapts ‘facilities to the needs of city-dwellers and to their schedules.’ Which is to say, it’s all very well if tourists can chill out in the shade of the Jardin des Tuileries but what about the poor sods who are sweating their socks off all day in an unairconditioned office only to find that their local park is shut by the time they’ve gotten home, peeled off their clothes, and headed back out for a reviving apéro?
With this in mind, very few of the parks are on the standard tourist itinerary. The best known are probably the Parc Montsouris in the 14th, which has a pretty lake and large grassy areas, the Parc André Citroën in the 15th, ideally equipped with play-friendly fountains, and the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th, which offers great views of Paris from the picturesque Temple de la Sibylle. The exact locations of these and the others on the list can be seen on the map below.
Residents of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd arrondissements are hard out of luck (apart from the fact that they are probably rich enough to have air-con) with no major green spaces included in the scheme. Spare a thought, too, for those in the 8th, 9th, and 18th who will have to make do with their share of the 137 smaller parks and gardens already open to the public at night.
This isn’t the first time the city has turned to 24-hour park opening times. Just last year, nine parks went two months without shutting. At the time, 700 residents living around the Parc Montsouris signed a petition against the move, citing excessive noise and littering.
To assuage similar concerns this year, City Hall has ensured that security teams will regularly patrol the parks and that ‘cleaning measures will be reinforced’, such as providing large bins.