This large park at the southern edge of the city feels more like New York’s Central Park than the Tuileries Gardens. Parc Georges-Brassens lacks the rows of neatly trimmed trees that characterize many of Paris’ green spaces. Instead, the park feels more organic, while winding paths and water elements add a sense of calm. Children play in a small stream, while couples sit on benches near the park’s clock tower. A pavilion next to the park houses a large antique book market every Saturday and Sunday. Offering everything from leather-bound classics to old maps and magazine advertisements, the market alone is worth a visit to this generally quiet area of Paris.
Square Saint-Lambert is always bustling with activity. This park’s large, open green space makes it perfect for picnics and athletic activities. During the summer, sunbathers stretch out on the grass while children play soccer nearby. The park is also home to a small stand that sells snacks and drinks. A large fountain and rows of colorful flowers beautify the space. Grab a sandwich from a nearby bakery and enjoy lunch on one of the square’s many benches.
Square du Clos Feuquières
Located on quiet Rue du Clos Feuquières, this park is a neighborhood secret. On sunny afternoons, families visit the little park to use the brightly-colored playground equipment. The park is ostensibly separated into two areas, making it easy to find quiet respite even when the playground echoes with the laughter of children. A series of trellised arches create tunnels of greenery, a feature that sets this little square apart and makes it perfect for photoshoots.
Square Béla Bartók
This park near the Seine is named after famous Hungarian composer and pianist Béla Bartók. A bronze statue of the composer donated by the city of Budapest stands at the entrance to the park. The centerpiece of the square is an abstract sculpture by artist Jean Yves Lechevallier which functions as a fountain. Flower beds of every color contrast with the high-rise buildings that surround the square. Not far from the Eiffel Tower, this park is a must if you want to experience a local’s version of Paris.
Square de la Place du Commerce
Rows of blocky trees and a charming gazebo make this small park next to the Commerce metro station classically Parisian. The park has an area for visitors to play petanque as well as a playground and ping pong table for children. The square often hosts concerts and neighborhood events. Past events include an annual book festival for children, jazz concerts and artistic performances. The park is also an ideal place to rest after a day of shopping at Rue du Commerce’s many stores.
Parc André Citroën
Parc André Citroën is built on the site of a old Citroën manufacturing plant. The park is most notable for its stationary hot air balloon, which claims to be the largest in the world. The hot air balloon, which only moves vertically, offers stunning views of Paris for just 12 euros. With an incredibly diverse variety of plants, the park itself is also a worthy attraction. Stroll along the grid-like paths and you’ll see everything from clusters of bamboo to lavender gardens. The park’s greenery contrasts sharply with the modern glass buildings that surround it, lending it a striking beauty.
Offering plenty of playground equipment as well as a ping pong table, Square Violet is a go-to park for young families. A pavilion hosts concerts between May and September. Square Violet may not be the most exciting park in Paris, but it is the perfect place to relax, no matter the season. Towering trees provide welcome shade. Claim one of the park’s many benches and lose yourself in a book.
Despite being located in such a bustling area, the Jardin Atlantique is a well-kept secret. The garden sits on top of one of Paris’s busiest train stations, the Gare Montparnasse. The rooftop retreat is divided into a number of smaller gardens that take inspiration from the garden’s name: Jardin Atlantique. The name derives from the train station’s former role as the sole link between Paris and the Atlantic coast. As a result, the garden has a vague nautical theme. The garden almost feels enclosed by the modern buildings that surround it. This unusual Parisian park is a must-see for visitors to the 15th arrondissement.
Square Adolphe Chérioux
This long, rectangular park across from the Vaugirard metro station is a peaceful place to get away from busy Rue de Vaugirard. The park offers a gazebo, statues and, in the springtime, an abundance of flowers. Bring the family and pick up lunch from one of the traiteurs around the park. Occasionally, the park also hosts flea markets where the most prevalent goods are children’s toys.
By Casey Brand
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