The Best Gardens in Paris

April 23, 2019

Filed in: Field Guide

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cherry blossoms bloom in gardens in paris, notably in the paris botanical gardens

I must have flowers, always and always. And there’s no better place to admire them than gardens in Paris!

I’ve read that’s attributed to Monet (whose paintings I adore), but since I can’t confirm it, I will also attribute it to me, because it’s true! I love flowers and greenery. Something about it is happy and optimistic, hopeful in a city that is constantly moving and changing.

While the mainstays have a place in my heart (after all, they’re Parisian classics), I’ve enjoyed wandering around the city, finding lesser-known spots for some peace and quiet. As a bonus, many of these places also explode with color during the cherry blossom season, and the ground has been blanketed in soft pink confetti. Be warned, though. Social media may have you dreaming of fluffy pink petals, but once they fall from the tree…they rot. Can’t say it smells like a perfumery, but the scene sure is beautiful!

Here’s a running list of my favorite gardens in Paris, plus squares and parks. I’ll update it as I discover more.

The Best Gardens in Paris

Jardin des Tuileries

The Louvre bleeds into the Tuileries, and I love coming for a visit to both. I feel inspired by the Louvre’s architecture, and calm as I listen to the fountain splash in the garden. There’s also a ferris wheel that makes an appearance every so often — I presume in the summer.

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris’ Most Famous Garden (?!)

When I first arrived, this is the first garden I visited. It’s in the backyard of the Sénat, so you have a view of the grand building. According to a friend, there’s a club that meets here to sail small boats in the (rather large) fountain, and I think you can rent a boat, too. Classic summer pastime. I can’t wait for them to fill the pots with flowers!

Jardin des Plantes, the Garden in Paris That’s Underrated

It’s only on my fourth stay in Paris that I discovered the Jardin des Plantes, and I’m sad I didn’t explore it sooner! You really want to be here during the cherry blossom season, which takes place sometime in April (I’d be more precise if I could, but it’s always hard to predict the weather!). There are some magnificent cerisiers that bloom here and are well worth the trip. It’s also nice to stroll around and enjoy the greenery. But really…I’m here for the flowers!

Jardin Marie Trintignant

Get off the metro at Pont Marie (line 7), and you’ll be quite near this garden. You might barely call it a garden, for it is no more than a handful of trees and some greenery, steps from the banks of the Seine. However, the trees here explode with cherry blossoms, and plenty of them. A spot to add to your list if you’re on the hunt.

Jardin du Palais Royal, the Magnolia Garden in Paris

The palais itself is worth a visit (one of my favorite places for soft, dreamy light), but stroll through the gardens to appreciate the flowers and expertly-trimmed trees. There is a fountain, of course, and plenty of chairs and benches, some engraved with poetry. You can sip a coffee or tea from Café Kitsune and watch people go by. In the springtime, it explodes with magnolias. It makes for a truly lovely afternoon.

The Best Parks and Squares in Paris

Square Paul Langevin

This one I happened upon on accident while walking to the Sorbonne. Located in the fifth, it’s a charming little area that backs right into the École Polytechnique. You also get a dose of cherry blossoms here, without the crowds at Notre Dame.

Square du Vert-Galant, the Can’t-Miss Garden in Paris

Okay, the only claim to greenery is a willow tree. BUT, it’s arguably one of the most romantic spots for a picnic! If you walk to the tip of Île de la Cité, you’ll find a spot of shade under a tree with swaying branches. There’s a view of the Pont des Arts right in front of you, as well as the Louvre. It’s a popular spot to picnic (cheese and wine abound), and fun fact: Taylor Swift sat here to film the music video “Begin Again.”

Square René Viviani, a Quiet Garden in Paris in Notre Dame’s Shadow

You’ve probably heard of Shakespeare & Co., the venerated anglophone bookstore just across from Notre Dame. It also runs a café, where you can find an assortment of goodies. Just next to it is this square, with benches and grass and a lovely view of the cathedral. Take your sandwich or your tea and sit here for a while — the café is usually crowded.

Place Jacqueline de Romilly 

This isn’t really a garden — more like a small square — about a three-minute walk from the Panthéon. There are a few trees here that bloom pink, and on a sunny day, it’s fun to sit in one of the cafés on the terrace.

Square Gabriel-Pierné, a Secret Garden in Paris

Cross the Pont des Arts headed away from the Louvre and you’ll find yourself in front of the Institut de France. Hark a right, walk through the little passageway, and turn left. After a few paces, you’ll be at this little square, right behind the Institut. Cherry blossoms abound, and it’s in the 6th arrondissement, close to plenty of restaurants and cafés.

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Paris & California strolls; plenty of flowers; stories; and looking for the beauty in the everyday. I hope you'll come along as I take the year to document the entirety of my home state!

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