6 Secret Gardens in Paris That Everyone Must Visit

Paris has a leafy little secret: Tucked into grand boulevards, behind museums and churches, and inside hotels are secret gardens designed as back-to-nature reprieves. Secluded square? Woodsy park? Lush courtyards that look (and smell) more countryside than French capital? If you know where to look, the City of Light brims with verdant escape hatches from city life.

Why all of the greenery? In 1850, when Napoleon III reconfigured Vieux Paris into the elegant city we know today, he tapped George-Eugène Haussmann to construct statement-making boulevards and stone edifices as well as public parks to act as “lungs” for the city. Centuries-old woodlands and royal hunting grounds were transformed into rambling green spaces at the four points bordering the city, and dozens of smaller squares and gardens were built within the 20 arrondissements. Over the decades, French leaders have added more green space. Paris now boasts more than 400 gardens and parks, woods, and squares and has plans to become Europe’s greenest city by 2030. “These gardens are like a tranquil bubble. My clients love discovering this special, secret side of Paris,” says Anne Murano, who leads custom art and fashion tours in Paris.

Here are a few of our favorite foliage-forward hideaways in the city.

Hôtel Particulier Montmartre, 18th arrondissement

In Montmartre, off of Avenue Junot near Sacré Cœur, the former home of the Hermès family has been recast into a five-suite hotel with old-world charm. A highlight of Hôtel Particulier is the massive wraparound garden designed by AD100 Hall of Fame member Louis Benech, the architect of the Jardin des Tuileries. During the summer, the Grand Salon restaurant moves outside to wrought-iron tables under the shade of magnolia and ivy-kissed sycamore maple trees. Surrounded by hot pink Daphne odora, golden St John’s Wort, and a crew of roving chickens (plus the clank of pétanque balls; Club Lepic Abbesses Pétanque is next door), diners enjoy classic house-made dishes (using only French products), and a scene that channels the 19th century. Lunch, dinner, and a classic tea are served daily.

The Grand Salon restaurant at Hôtel Particulier

Photo: Raphael Metivet

La Vallée Suisse, 8th arrondissement

Existing quietly off the Champs-Élysées on Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, within one of the most trafficked parts of Paris, is a 1.7-acre idyll of twisted vines and stone archways set off by lemon trees, evergreens, maples, bamboo, lilacs, overgrown ivy, and a Seine-fed pond with a waterfall. Constructed by Haussmann-era engineer Jean-Charles Adolphe Alphand, the garden is a 19th-century time capsule; it has perfect benches to read, nap, or daydream on.

Garden at Hôtel-Dieu, 4th arrondissement

Hospitals are not likely locations for wowza gardens. But, on Île de la Cité, the ancient Hôtel-Dieu (established in 651) has a formal garden of symmetrically sculpted boxwoods flecked with pink geraniums, impatiens, and Indian roses concealed within a Romanesque arched courtyard. The wow factor is twofold—the garden itself, and the fact that this serene, lost-in-time spot is next to the tourist-filled Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top