Jardin de Tuileries
The most well-known and largest park in the 1st arrondissement is Jardin de Tuileries, a stunning space with splendid views of the city. Not only is it perfectly located for a wander after you visit the Louvre, but it is lovingly landscaped with picturesque tree-lined avenues, two large fountains, and impressive statues, giving it a regal feel that is in keeping with that of the 1st arrondissement. There are stone benches as well as metal chairs for public use all year round, and in summer time, people flock to soak up the sun in the sublime setting. If you really need to perk up, there are cafés towards the center of the park where you can get your hands on a much-needed caffeine fix.
On the other side of the 1st arrondissement above the underground shopping-center of Les Halles lies Jardin Nelson-Mandela. While a renovation is currently taking place, a large part of the garden has already been completed, showcasing a magnificently modern new space in the midst of the bustling, lively Les Halles. With a focus on environmentalism behind this renovation, this park was created for Parisians rather than tourists, and will therefore give you an authentic insight into the ‘real’ Paris. The new design is both inventive and exciting, making this a fun and youthful space which is bound to keep a smile on your face.
Jardin Palais Royal
Jardin Palais Royal offers everything you would expect from the King’s gardens — it is tranquil, serene, immaculate, and just downright impressive. It’s not the size that impresses as such or even the grand fountain alongside the array of pretty flowers sitting poised in their beds, but the incredible attention to detail in the upkeep of this space. Two tree-lined avenues stretch down either side, which are so symmetrical that you would think they were cut and tamed with nail scissors daily – you will never see a leaf out of place here.
Square De La Dauphine
When you’re asked to think of a relaxing escape, sitting on an island somewhere tropical is likely to come to mind. While Paris can’t offer tropical weather (at least, not all year round), it can offer you that island escape. A leisurely walk over the oldest bridge in Paris, Pont Neuf, will lead you to the Ile de la Cité in the 1st arrondissement. Head a few paces to your left and you’ll find the perfect place to take ten at Square De La Dauphine. While this is a relatively small space, it’s extremely quiet, tranquil and charming — so really, everything you could want from an ‘island getaway.’ Lined with trees, benches, and a string of cafés, which are all ready to welcome you for a refreshing ice-cold coca or delicious steak haché, this a uniquely undiscovered spot which will leave you feeling calm, poised, and very Parisian.
Square du Vert-Galant
If you’re after that real island feel, turn right after stepping off the Pont Neuf and you’ll find yourself teetering on the edge of the Seine at Square du Vert-Galant, which occupies the tip of the Ile de la Cité. Once a place where the King went to meet with his mistresses, the small park is filled with romance, from its elegant teardrop-shaped grassy area to the whimsical willow at the end which falls over the Seine’s moody waters. Whether you’re looking for a moment alone with a loved one, Paris itself, or simply your own thoughts, Square du Vert-Galant is a magical space.