Paris gardens are a wonderful retreat from the intensity of city life.
Whether you want elegant, quirky, traditional or modern, you’ll find one to suit your mood.
And they’re easily accessible, many of them in the heart of Paris and within a short walk of the métro.
So…if you’re thinking, what to do in Paris? Try some Paris Gardens! Here are some of our favourites – including some hidden gems that are known by only a lucky few.
We’ve also put together an online map of Paris (the green markers on the map indicate the parks and gardens), together with some recommendations on the best Paris maps to buy for your trip, as well as where to download a métro map.
Famous Paris Gardens
The elegant Luxembourg Gardens in Paris are great for people watching. An oasis of green in the centre of the city, the gardens attract all interests and ages – from quiet bookreaders, joggers, or families, to couples taking a romantic stroll; students also come here from the nearby Sorbonne University.
You can play chess or tennis, visit the bee-keeping apiary or apple orchards; kids love the puppet theatres, playgrounds and toy boats they can float in the fountains. Or you can simply sit and soak in the sun.
The gardens are popular with both tourists and locals. But they are large enough to find a peaceful spot to yourself. There are plenty of chairs dotted around the edges to read a book or watch the world go by.
Jardins and Palais du Luxembourg
The palace and gardens were created for Marie de Médicis, widow of Henri IV, in the early 1600s (the palace now houses the french senate). The gardens are beautiful but quite formal (terraces, gravel paths, sculptures and manicured lawns) – but still has a relaxing feel and atmosphere.
To get to the gardens, take the métro to Odéon (line #4 or #10 – just south of the river).
Place des Vosges is in the fashionable Marais quarter and is also popular (the secret was out long ago!).
Place des Vosges
It is the oldest square in Paris, and probably one of the most beautiful. It can get busy during the summer. If you can visit on a weekday morning, or on a clear autumn or winter day it is a perfect, romantic spot to take your loved one.
You could easily spend a morning or afternoon here – there are plenty of outdoor cafés for a spot of lunch (or a to-die-for chocolate cake). There are also several small museums and galleries that are nice to wander through.
Take the métro to St-Paul (the yellow #1 line, east of Châtelet); it’s about a 5-10min (very pleasant) walk from there.
And how can we forget Château de Versailles – the ultimate Paris garden experience.
Opulent, fanciful and luxurious, the gardens cover more than 800 hectares – with woodland, ponds, fountains and statues.
The Marais has elegant, distinctive and quite beautiful historical mansions (hôtels particuliers) that have courtyards and little gardens.
Getting lost in the neighbourhood is the best way to find them. We’ve discovered some lovely gardens around Rue des Arquebusiers/Rue Villeharouin; and Rue de Hesse.
There is also a garden in the grounds of the École Normale Supérieure (an exclusive school of higher education). It’s only open on weekdays though. Located at 45 rue d’Ulm (métro #7 Place Monge, south of the river).
Unusual Paris Gardens
The Jardin Albert Kahn is a short walk from métro stop: Boulogne Pont de St-Cloud (#10) and is in the western Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, on 14 Rue du Port. It is probably one of the most interesting and unusual gardens in Paris – a mix of french, english and japanese. It also has a really fascinating photography exhibit.
The Jardin Sauvage St Vincent – a ‘wild’ Paris garden in the heart of Montmartre that most tourists don’t know even exists. You can get to it through Rue Saint-Vincent (take the metro #12 to Lamarck-Caulaincourt, north). It’s open at odd times – best to try saturday afternoon. Ph: 33 (0)1 43 28 47 63.
There are also japanese gardens and a tea-room at the historical La Pagode cinema, on 57 rue de Babylone. (métro #13: St-François Xavier; south of the river) Tel: 01 45 55 48 48.
If you’re looking for more info on parks in Paris, please see our page on Paris Parks.