Garden escapes to unwind in Paris.
Jardin de la Nouvelle France
Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Cours la Reine, 75008
Metro: Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau (lines 1 and 13)
Escape the crowds on the Champs-Elysées in this relatively unknown but entirely delightful English-style garden tucked away behind the Grand Palais. Complete with pond, waterfall, and a fanciful bridge, this is the place to relax and catch a breath of fresh air. Find the stair entrance behind the white marble statue (pictured above) at the corner of Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Cours la Reine.
8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001
Metro: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7)
Recharge from the Louvre with a scenic stroll through this former palace, now home to gardens, sculptures, and a shopping arcade full of vintage shops and upscale restaurants. Originally the private residence of Cardinal Richelieu — of Three Musketeers fame — the Palais Royale later belonged to the crown, and it shows! Unlike the Tuileries Gardens, the Palais Royale is not easily stumbled upon: find the entrance at the Place Colette, just to the right of the Comedie-Francaise theater.
Place Dauphine, 75001
Metro: Pont Neuf (line 7)
Midway on the Pont Neuf — Paris’s oldest bridge — on the Île de la Cité island is another blink-and-you-might-miss-it green oasis in the city center. The Place Dauphine is one of the city’s oldest squares (albeit in the shape of a triangle) and once you step inside you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to a Paris of long ago. Take a break among the chestnut trees, 17th-century apartments, and traditional French restaurants. Weather permitting, you’ll likely spy groups of avid pétanque players strategically lobbing bocce balls onto the sand.
Place des Vosges
Place des Vosges, 75004
Metro: Saint-Paul (line 1) or Bastille (lines 1, 5, and 8)
France’s most charming square (if not Europe’s), Place des Vosges is the heart and birthplace of the trendy Marais district. Begun in 1605, the regal pink-brick pavilion apartments were quickly bought up by upwardly mobile Parisians, kicking off the heyday of the fashionable Marais. One apartment later belonged to beloved storyteller Victor Hugo, who wrote much of Les Misérables there. But one need not know Javert from Jean Valjean to appreciate the Place des Vosges’s eternal charm, with its symmetrical design, decorative fountains, leafy trees, and a small playground.
The Promenade Plantée
1 Coulée verte René-Dumont, 75012
Metro: Bastille (lines 1, 5, and 8)
Long before the High Line made New York a little greener, Paris converted an abandoned railway line into the Promenande Plantée, a nearly 3-mile-long elevated walkway connecting the Bastille neighborhood with Paris’s largest park, the Bois des Vincennes. Lined with trees and flowers, the Promenande Plantée walkway is a local favorite for long nature walks. Ascend the stairs at the main entrance where Rue de Lyon meets Avenue Daumesnil, and leave time at the end for a picnic on the grass at the Bois des Vincennes.