When Paris beings to shed her grey winter coat and sunlight illuminates her streets for a few hours longer, that can only mean one thing: Spring has arrived in our city once again. All over, Paris flowers have started to poke their heads out of the thawing ground and add their unique splashes of colour against the city’s already stellar canvas. The Paris parks and gardens will soon fill once again with throngs of people taking advantage of the beautiful weather.
The ambiance of gardens and parks during a Parisian spring have long served as a source of beauty, repose and inspiration to people from all over the world. Of course, the nights are still fairly chilly during springtime in Paris, so we would be remiss if we didn’t advise you to cozy up at one of our magnificent theatres after a long day of strolling through Parisian parks and gardens for show (See what’s playing!)
With over 400 municipal parks and gardens, the city has made vast efforts to maintain green recreational spaces for both residents and visitors alike. All the same, whether you fancy a picnic next to the Eiffel Tower, a stroll in the Jardin des Plantes, or even join the crowd and rent a miniature boat to steer around the Grand Bassin in the Luxembourg Garden, a visit to the gardens of Paris will truly have you living la vie en rose. While we can’t take you through them all, here are a few of our faves:
Gardens of Versailles
Perhaps the King of all French gardens, the gardens of Versailles are so jaw-droppingly stunning it almost seems as though someone's waiting behind the scenes to wheel them away. The majority of the development of the gardens was during the time of Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King. The carefully organized geometry of the gardens is in typical French style and does not disappoint. Tucked away in the Versaille gardens, be sure to visit Marie Antoinette’s Queen Theatre, which she personally commissioned in 1780 to both house celebrated artists and to indulge her own theatrical passions. where she We definitely recommend strolling around the mirror pool and maybe even bring a little picnic to have along the water’s edge. Escape the bustling city streets for a pleasant reprise amidst the spring flowers surrounded by French architectural splendor.
Jardin du Luxembourg / Luxembourg gardens
Situated in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, the Luxembourg Garden is the perfect destination for springtime activities, right in the heart of the city. In the middle of the garden sits the Grand Bassin, the iconic French pool in which you can see miniature wooden sailboats toting country flags from all over the world. Available for rent, the park’s famous boats are sailed around by the hands of old and young alike, how many countries can you spot? The park also boasts other family-friendly activities including a puppet theatre, pony rides, a merry-go-round and a playground. For the more ambitious travelers, there’s also space for a round of tennis, or the perfect spot for a jog through the winding pathways. It’s truly the idealistic place for some long-awaited outdoor activities, without ever having to leave the capital.
Added bonus: Some incredible musicals (here) are playing with English subtitles at the Théâtre Lucernaire just two steps from the Luxembourg Gardens, park + theatre night anyone?
jardin des plantes
With a zoo, a museum and four greenhouses within, we could spend a whole day exploring Paris’ Jardin des Plantes and never get bored! A celebration of biodiversity, the complex has a series of galleries displaying all the beauties nature has to offer, from minerals to vegetation to species alive and extinct. Originally a royal medicinal herb garden for King Louis XIII, the garden contains 28 hectares of botanical plants. It also houses the Museum of Natural History, in which you can find the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution which immerses you in the Amazon and transports you to the far-away savannahs, displaying 10,000 life-like animals, oh la la!
With its curved walkways and randomly placed statues, Paris’ Monceau Park is not your typical French-style garden. All the same, its beauty in springtime rivals all the rest. Its statues of famous French figures, combined with its scaled down replicas of an Egyptian pyramid, a Chinese fort, a Dutch windmill and Corinthian pillar make it one of the most unique parks in all of Paris. From its creation in the 1760’s, the park passed possession from one bourgeois family to the next, until being officially inaugurated as a public amenity by Napoleon himself one hundred years later. Walk along the paths once crossed by centuries of French royalty, and admire the exotic treasures that make the Monceau Park unique. It is a very popular spot for residential French families, so it's the perfect place for a picnic and an authentic Parisian spring day amongst the locals.