Originally named Folie de Chartres, this absolutely stunning, little gem is one of Paris’ best kept secrets. Monceau is probably the city’s most elegant garden, and is actually located on the border between the 8th and 17th arrondissements. Built in the 17th century, Monceau was designed to resemble the English gardens of that time, far from the geometrical, French style. Parc Monceau is not as expansive as its grander sisters, however it has an intimacy and elegance that makes it worthwhile. It’s also not your typical French park! Here you will not find linear walkways and square-shaped trees, but instead curved meandering paths, sloping lawns, and a variety of eccentric structures (including an Egyptian pyramid, a Chinese fort, a Dutch windmill, and Corinthian pillars). Our favorite reason to visit Parc Monceau? The whole place is a free wifi hotspot!
Square des Batignolles
Located right next to the famous Saint Lazare train tracks, the Square des Batignolles is a true green haven. Small and discreet, this park is anything but simple. The space displays an abundance of greenery and tranquility in a way that very few small parks do. The square was commissioned by Haussmann during the Second Empire, when Napoleon III’s desire was to embellish the capital with several English-style gardens. For a park relatively modest in size, there is a rich diversity of flora and fauna rare for the area: large rolling lawns, wandering paths, and a remarkable variety of trees and animals. A highlight is the large pétanque court at the entrance, making this park one of the city’s best kept secrets.
Clichy-Batignolles-Martin Luther King Park
The largest green space in the 17th arrondissement was initially built to be part of the potential 2012 Olympic Village (Paris lost out to London for hosting the games). Due to its size, this park is one of the true ‘lungs’ of the city and an excellent example of an eco-conscious park. A place that fosters creativity, the park itself was inspired by the relationship between the four seasons and H2O. The Park is a display of a rich and diverse ecosystem, composed of several original areas, such as the jardin du rail, which features deck-chairs, a play area for children, and sports grounds. There is also an area dedicated to water features that host aquatic vegetation, like water lilies, iris, reeds and bulrushes. In line with modern-day concerns, the park is fully sustainable and sticks to a zero carbon policy by optimizing its use of energy through sun panels, wind turbines and a rainwater irrigation-system. Besides the park, this area is home to a nice selection of cafés, restaurants and bars.
This promenade/walkway crosses a large part of the 17th arrondissement, and is outlined by a variety of plants and bronze statues. Benches have been installed along the way, allowing you to enjoy the calm and charm of this place. While this is a relatively small area, it’s extremely quiet, tranquil and charming — so everything you could ask for in order to take a relaxing afternoon promenade.
Square des Epinettes
This park’s name evokes the white spruce (épinette blanche in French) – from which beer and the famous Pinot Blanc were both extracted – that grew centuries ago in this area. A bandstand is at the heart of this charming little park, which becomes a stage in the summertime for numerous concerts, and contributes to the charm and eclectic use of this space. Surrounded by lined Chestnut and Lime trees, the Epinettes is a wonderful place to walk, run, relax or have a picnic with friends. Many small cultural events take place here throughout the year, and due to its location in one of Paris’ most multicultural neighborhoods, the park draws a diverse and lively local crowd.