There is no shortage of beautiful things to see and do in Paris. Most tourists are sure to visit the Eiffel Tower, see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, and check out the Impressionist art at the Musee d’Orsay but many tourists miss out on some of Paris’ greatest attractions: the parks! Paris is filled with parks, some large, some small, some famous and some still waiting to be discovered. To experience ‘the city of lights’ like a real Parisian, grab a baguette and make your way to one of these amazing parks in Paris.
The Luxembourg Garden
Right in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, the Jardin de Luxembourg is an obvious stop. First commissioned by Marie de Medici in 1612, the Luxembourg Garden is a great place to spend the afternoon. With over 100 statues, two distinct garden styles (French and English), a palace (now home to the Senate), and the beautiful Medici fountain, the picturesque Jardin de Luxembourg is truly one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Grab an ice cream cone, sail a small toy sailboat in the basin, schedule a family photoshoot or just lounge in one of the many deck chairs.
The Tuileries is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive gardens in all of Paris. Located between Concorde and the Louvre, it is home to the lovely Musée de l’Orangerie, the Jeu de Pomme, a large terrace, several restaurants and two basins. In the summer, be sure to check out the Fête des Tuileries or watch the final leg of the Tour de France from the terrace.
Slightly off the beaten path for the average Paris tourist, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont is worth the extra effort if you’ve got the time. It’s in the 19th arrondissement and offers some stunning landscape. The park itself is quite hilly with lots of winding and wooded trails and is home to a grotto and several waterfalls. Buttes Chaumont also boasts an artificial lake surrounding an island cliff where you can find the beautiful Temple de la Sibylle, a miniature version of the Temple of Vesta located in Tivoli, Italy.
Parc Monceau, on the border of the 8th and 17th arrondissements is a favorite among locals. This park is known for being very quiet and calm, even when it’s packed with people. See if you can find the Egyptian pyramid, the Dutch windmill or the Chinese fort located inside the English style park. It’s a great place to take the whole family or your computer as it’s one of the free Wi-Fi zones of Paris!
Tiny neighborhood parks
Besides the large and well-known Parisian parks, the city is also host to many tiny neighborhood parks. These usually have playgrounds for kids, benches for relaxing while you eat a local pastry and are open from morning until near sunset, depending on the time of year. Head to one on a weekday afternoon and you’re sure to see local families and children enjoying their after-school snacks and playing together before heading home. Keep an eye out, sometimes these are hidden behind large gates, or around corners!