There are over 450 Paris parks and many beautiful gardens with so many wonderful green spaces throughout the French capital. Paris is of course a wonderfully historic city with many fine buildings and monuments but their grandeur is equaled by the beautiful parks and gardens. Some are prestigious and historic, and adorned with fine sculpture, some popular parks have formal gardens and others are a peaceful haven in which to while away the day.
What is certain is that wherever you are in the city there will be a public garden or park nearby which will be the perfect place to relax and unwind. And many of the best places are in the center of Paris itself.
If you’re vacationing in the French capital it’s a great idea to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the best Parisian parks and wide open green spaces. Take a bottle of wine and a picnic and hang out for a while.
But with so many Paris parks and gardens to choose from, which one’s should you visit? We’ve put together a list of some of the most popular Paris gardens and parks for you to visit. Let’s dive into them.
Our list of the 19 best parks and gardens of Paris
Bois de Boulogne
The Bois de Boulogne lies along the western edge of the 16th arrondissement, near Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine. It was created between 1852 and 1858 during the time of Louis Napoleon.
It is the second largest park in Paris, slightly smaller than the Bois de Vincennes and is 2½ times the size of Central Park in New York, and comparable in size to Richmond Park in London. In short – this is a huge space.
If you want figures, the Bois de Boulogne is around 850 hectares. It’s a fantastic place for a walk but if you want to cycle in safety there are 15km of cycle paths through the park. Honestly, it is well worth hiring a bicycle and enjoying the peace of the park as you cycle without worries of being accosted by mad French motorists.
If you happen to have packed a horse in your luggage there are also 28km of bridleways to explore. You’re probably best sticking to a bike and you can hire a bicycle from outlets within the park. You can also hire a boat and enjoy the waterways that snake through the Bois de Boulogne.
The park has huge swathes of woodland which is a delight to explore and much like New Yorkers eulogise about Centre Park, the Bois de Boulogne is an incredible oasis of green in the heart of the city.
Within the boundaries of the Bois de Boulogne you will find the English gardens. Beautifully landscaped in the classical English style with several lakes and a cascade. This is one of the best spots in Paris for a picnic.
You’ll also discover two small botanical and landscape gardens, the Château de Bagatelle and the Pré-Catelan and a children’s amusement park in the Jardin d’Acclimatation.
Moving on you’ll find the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, holding more than a hundred thousand plants. There is free entry to this garden as well as the Bois de Boulogne itself. However, there are entry charges to the Jardin d’Acclimatation and Parc de Bagatelle (see below).
The Bois de Boulogne also houses the world famous Auteuil and Longchamp racecourse (the latter is where the prestigious Arc de Triomphe is held every year), and a tennis stadium which hosts the annual French Open tennis tournament.
You can reach the Bois de Boulogne by metro or RER with Porte Maillot being the nearest station or many buses including the 32, 52, 63, 73, 82, 241, and 244 pass the park on their routes.
Parc de Bagatelle
The Parc de Bagatelle or the Jardin botanique de Paris is actually located in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne. It’s the main botanical garden in the city. The park is free to enter except when special events are taking place although a guided tour is available for €8.
However, that will be €8 well spent. It is a beautiful place with a stunning rose garden of over 10,000 exotic plants. It’s a lovely park in which to relax and enjoy the running waterfalls and artificial lake and waterways. A highlight is the incongruous Chinese pagoda which was built in the 19th century.
You can spend a very pleasant hour walking along the footpaths and enjoying the amazing displays of roses against the gentle backdrop of running water.
The Parc de Bagatelle is another of the Paris parks which has a royal connection. Marie Antoinette was one of its patrons when it was built in 1775.
If you’re looking for a park with a difference this is it. The Jardin d’Acclimatation has got to be one of the most unique green spaces in Europe. It’s well worth a visit and you can easily spend a half or even full day here.
On the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, the Jardin d’Acclimatation can lay claim to being the oldest leisure park in Paris. It dates all the way back to Napoleon lll and the Second Empire. But the park has moved with the times and the Jardin d’Acclimatation is now a contemporary space with activities and attractions for everyone regardless of age.
There is a wonderful amusement park here. There are plenty of new rides which the kids will love but those of a certain age will enjoy the little train. You can catch it from Porte Maillot station and it has been operating since the late 1800s. It’s a quirky, fun thing which you just don’t expect to find. If you’re lucky you may even stumble across magic and puppet shows.
The amusement rides are all thoughtfully woven into the landscape and the modern rides and nature look perfectly compatible. If you want something more relaxing than roller coasters, mechanical rides, and a ferris wheel you can rent a boat and take a voyage along the enchanted river.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can even ‘enjoy’ a ride in a hot air balloon. It’s something I’ve not done but you can imagine the unique view of Paris you would get from the basket.
There are numerous play areas fitted throughout the park and you can even go for a donkey or camel ride if you feel the urge.
Away from the attractions, there are wonderful planting displays and an alpine garden. There is always something going on at Jardin d’Acclimatation with hundreds of different events held throughout the year.
There’s many who believe the Jardin d’Acclimatation is the most exciting and best garden or park to visit in Paris. And it’s hard to disagree. It’s certainly the most diverse.
Entry fees to the park which includes a pass for all the attractions is €35 or individual rides cost €3.
Bois de Vincennes
The Bois de Vincennes is in the 12th arrondissement on the eastern edge of Paris, and is one of the largest public parks in the city.
It’s a large park with a huge wood and a lake on which you can hire a boat for around €13. There is also a small charge to enter the Parc Floral which has many different play areas, and an 18-hole mini-golf course.
But there is plenty more in the park including wildlife areas and even an ornithological reserve. Elsewhere the park contains the Château de Vincennes, a former residence of the Kings of France.
There is also an English landscape garden with four lakes; a zoo; an arboretum and a horse-racing track. There are also two very good restaurants which offer wonderful French food.
To reach the Bois de Vincennes, there are plenty of buses and the nearest metro station is Porte Doree.
Jardin des Plantes
Situated in the 5th arrondissement, on the left bank of the River Seine, this historic Botanical Garden of Paris was opened to the public in 1640, and is one of seven departments of the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle (Natural History Museum).
This is a true nature lover’s park. You can join in with botany workshops, explore the historical woodland, and take in the wonderful flower beds. It’s not the biggest of Paris parks but with 2.5 hectares of woodland there is plenty to enjoy on a walk.
The Jardin des Plantes includes four galleries of the Natural History Muséum: the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution, the Mineralogy Museum, the Palaeontology Museum and the Entomology Museum.
In addition to the gardens there is a small zoo, founded in 1795 by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre with animals from the royal menagerie at Versailles.
There is free entry to all the gardens in the Jardin des Plantes including the rose garden, alpine garden, and the School of Botany.
Jardin du Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Gardens are possibly the most famous of all French gardens. They have achieved worldwide fame from being featured in Les Miserables and where previous a formal garden laid out for the exclusive use of the French royal family.
The layout of the gardens is an interesting example of the French being influenced by other European cultures. The gardens are based, or at least inspired by, the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy. But at the same time, they are uniquely Parisian.
The gardens are on the fringe of the Latin Quarter and is a popular place for arty Parisians from the Saint-Germain-des-Prés to picnic and mingle. But it’s a great place for tourists and locals alike to visit.
One of the features of the gardens is the Luxembourg Palace. The palace was originally built for Marie de Medici in the 17th century. Marie was a cousin of Queen Catherine de Medici, but despite building a palace died in poverty 20 years later.
The Luxembourg Gardens are actually owned by the French Senate. Which on the face of it is a bit weird. But as the politicians meet in the Luxembourg Palace it does make some sense.
You can find the gardens in the 6th arrondissement and reach them by metro. The nearest station is Odéon but Luxembourg RER station is closer.
Jardin des Tuileries
If you’re visiting the Louvre Museum make sure you also call in on the nearby Tuileries Garden. This historic garden was created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564. It was eventually opened to the public in the mid- 17th century, and became a public park after the French Revolution.
It is still a formal garden and is lovely to stroll around. You can walk through the gardens when going to the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde. But the Jardin des Tuileries is much more than just a cut through.
This famous park is a favorite spot for Parisians to take their leisure and spend a languid afternoon lazing by the large pond.
You’ll enjoy the classic statuary and the classical way the hedging is laid out. But in the summer months the Fete des Tuileries is held with fairground rides and stalls attracting family groups from all over the city.
It’s a perfect spot to relax and there are also two restaurants within the gardens as well as the excellent Cafe des Marronniers which is open seven days a week from 7am to 9pm.
But the neatly trimmed box hedges, marble statues, and gurgling fountains give no hint that here lurks one of France’s most infamous spectres? The Red Man of the Tuileries, as he is known, a butcher murdered on the orders of Catherine de Médici for the crime of knowing too much about the private affairs of the crown.
The Jardin des Tuileries is served by the Concorde and Tuileries metro stations and the Musee d’Orsay RER line. Many buses also stop near the gardens.
Located in the 14th arrondissement, Parc Montsouris is a public park, at the southern edge of Paris directly south of the centre. It’s one of the largest open spaces in the city and as it’s close to Paris University it’s common to see groups of students enjoying the sun.
Opened in 1869, the Parc is one of four large urban public parks, along with the Bois de Boulogne, the Bois de Vincennes and the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, created by Napoleon III and his Prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann.
A park stands at each of the cardinal points of the compass around the city, in order to provide green space and recreation for the rapidly-growing population of Paris. Within the Parc Montsouris you can see a monument marking the Paris meridian.
The pavilion within the park is a nice spot to enjoy a spot of lunch and indulge in some people watching.
To reach the Parc Montsouris you can alight at the Glaciere metro or Cite Universitaire RER stations. If you have an urge to ride a Parisian tram, Cite Universitaire and Montsouris are the nearest stops.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
This is possibly the city‘s most picturesque, boasting dramatic bluffs and man-made grottos. The Buttes-Chaumont is the steepest and the largest of the 470 gardens of Paris, with the exception of the Tuileries Garden and the Parc de La Villette.
It is a landscaped park built on the site of disused queries. It’s a great place to walk and you can enjoy some remarkable views of the city.
The design of the park is first-class. There are peaks and valleys with caves and plunging waterfalls. There is even a suspension bridge which spans the large artificial lake to marvel at.
There is also an evolved form of the Anglo-Chinese garden, its irregular design opposing the regular form of typical ‘French’ gardens.
The park’s 25 hectares are a joy to explore when the weather is warm. Visit the park to relax before (or after) you’ve enjoyed the Montmartre nightlife.
The nearest metro is Buttes-Chaumont or the 26, 60, and 75 buses all stop near the park.
Jardin du Palais Royal
A haven of elegance in the very heart of Paris. The Palais-Royal, one of the most famous of French castles, is in the 1st arrondissement. The screened entrance court faces the Place du Palais-Royal, opposite the Louvre. Originally called the Palais-Cardinal, the palace was the personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu.
The gardens are a peaceful spot and if you’re visiting the palace are a nice place to relax and unwind for a few minutes.
Jardin Champs Elysées
Stretching from Place de la Concorde to the famous Champs Elysées roundabout the gardens offer a relaxing place for a stroll to leave the traffic mayhem behind.
There is beautiful woodland which runs along the avenue with flower beds, fountains, and statues dotted along its length. Of course, there are museums and theatres within the gardens including Grand Palis and some truly excellent restaurants to enjoy.
The gardens actually date back to the 17th century and you can reach them from the Clemenceau or Champs Elysées metro stations. Just be careful crossing the road.
Jardin de I’Intendant
A new garden which was opened in 1980 was nevertheless based on designs created some three hundred years earlier by Robert Cotte.
Located in the 7th arrondissement it does of course have marvellous views of the Eiffel Tower. It’s a very formal style of garden with geometric boxwood hedging and classical statues.
You’ll find the gardens on Avenue de Tourville and the nearest metro is Varenne.
Jardin du Musée Rodin
An ideal spot to prolong your museum visit and discover magnificent city views. The grounds are divided into a rose garden, north of the Hôtel Biron, and a large ornamental garden, to the south, while a terrace and hornbeam hedge backing onto a trellis conceals a relaxation area, at the bottom of the garden.
The garden covers 3 hectares and is in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and amongst the plants and trees are many examples of Rodin’s sculptures.
Parc André Citroën
Sophisticated and contemporary, with several themed gardens, Parc André Citroën is located on the left bank of the Seine, in the 15th arrondissement.
As you may have guessed from its name, the park was built on the site of a former Citroën automobile manufacturing plant, and is named after company founder André Citroën.
It was opened in the early 1990’s so is one of the youngest parks in Paris. It’s also another park in which you can channel your inner Phileas Fogg and enjoy a hot air balloon ride. Though it is a tethered balloon which rises to around 150 feet. For €15 you can enjoy this great experience – weather permitting of course.
Elsewhere in the park you can enjoy two hothouses, numerous plants and trees, and lots of entertainment and activity areas for all the family.
But the biggest draw of the Parc André Citroën is that it is the only Paris park in which you can access the bank of the River Seine.
Getting there is straightforward with Javel and André Citroën being the closest metro stops.
Parc de la Villette
The Parc de la Villette is one of the biggest parks in Paris, located at the north-eastern edge of the 19th arrondissement. It’s massive.
The park covers an area of 55 hectares and houses one of the largest concentrations of cultural venues in Paris, including the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (City of Science and Industry), Europe’s largest science museum, three major concert venues and the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris.
This is a park in which to enjoy and embrace culture. It’s open from 6am to 1am and there is so much to do here. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you may spend an hour walking around. You’ll need the full day.
Apart from the museums, there are playgrounds and activity areas, huge spaces to explore and nature trails to follow. There are gift shops, a bookshop, and restaurants and cafes aplenty.
Walk along the Canal de’I’Ourcy on raised platforms and enjoy ponds, fountains, and other water features.
The highlight of the park is the cinematic walk. This really is incredible. Your route takes you through twelve different gardens. Each garden is a delight and the gardens are all connected by footbridges.
If you take the walk at night you can follow a luminous line which steers you through the gardens.
The Passenger Gardens are on a 3000sq metre island and are designed to raise awareness of ecological and environmental issues. You can take part in workshops and even explore organic farming methods.
Parc de la Villette is a fascinating place and you can find it on the Avenue Jean Jaures. Metro station Porte de Pantin is closest and you can even journey there by boat with Paris Canal.
Parc de Belleville
Offering panoramic views of the whole city, the Parc de Belleville, one of the parks and gardens of the 20th arrondissement, lies between the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Located on the hill of Belleville, this is the highest park in Paris.
This is a space for the kids. It has a wooded village with climbs and dens which will keep children entertained for hours.
At the summit of the park, an almost 30-metre tall terrace provides a panoramic view of the city. The park was conceived by the architect François Debulois and the landscaper Paul Brichet.
If you’re travelling to the Parc de Belleville, it’s served by Couronnes and Pyrenees metro stations.
Parc de Bercy
Recalling the wine-dealing past of this modernised district, Parc de Bercy is a group of three connected gardens in the 12th arrondissement, and is one of the most important parks in the city.
The ‘Romantic’ garden includes fishponds and dunes; the ‘Flowerbeds’ are dedicated to plant life, while the ‘Meadows’ are an area of open lawns shaded by trees. The park is linked directly to the National Library of France by the Simone de Beauvoir footbridge over the Seine.
The old railway line is popular with walkers and the park is only a stone’s throw from the Bercy Arena and metro station.
On the Boulevard de Courcelles in the 8th arrondissement, the Parc Monceau is a haven of peace and tranquillity. It’s a beautiful park in a very refined neighbourhood and although it is a little off the beaten track for some tourists it is all the better for that.
The main entrance features huge wrought iron gates encrusted with gold and inside are lots of scenic walkways to enjoy. The archway around the pond is spectacular as are the huge chestnut trees. There are children’s play areas and a snack bar but the Parc Monceau is a place to go to relax.
This lovely park contains memorable statues of Musset, Maupassant, Chopin and other noteworthy French figures.
The park was established by Phillippe d’Orléans, Duke of Chartres, a cousin of Louis XVI, fabulously wealthy, and active in court politics and society.
In 1769 he had begun purchasing the land where the park is located, and in 1778, decided to create a public park, employing writer and painter Louis Carrogis Carmontelle to design the gardens.
It’s well worth a visit. To get there you can catch the 30 or 84 bus or the nearest metro station is Monceau.
The Promenade plantée or Coulée verte René-Dumont isn’t a park or garden as such but it definitely deserves a place in our list of the 19 best parks and gardens of Paris.
Created along the route of an old railway line it’s a wonderful 4.5km walk through landscaped areas and wild vegetation. You’ll cross over bridges, go through tunnels and see nature at its best. Not to mention a grand view of the buildings and hubbub of the 12th arrondissement.
The Promenade Plantée begins near the Bastille opera house and winds its way to the Bois de Vincennes. You must experience this on a lovely summer’s day.
Alight at the Bastille metro station or Gare de Lyon RER station to begin your hike.