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About La Coulée Verte of Paris
Few Parisians know about La Coulée Verte (also known as La Promenade Plantée), located in the 12th Arrondissement of Paris. It is a pity because this free, 5 km stroll from Bastille Square to Bois de Vincennes is one of the most scenic walks in Paris, perfect for escaping the hassle of Paris without leaving the city.
La Coulée Verte follows part of the ancient railway (La Petite Ceinture) which stopped working in 1969. While the Bastille station was replaced by today’s Opera house, the viaduct was converted into glass-fronted workshops and boutiques for local artisans (the Viaduct des Arts), and the old rail tracks became La Coulée Verte.
La Coulée Verte Paris is a nature walk and car-free which crosses tunnels, trenches and parks. At times 10 meters above street level, La Coulée Verte was the world’s first elevated park walkway.
We like to walk La Promenade Plantée in summer, to escape the high temperatures, or in the fall for its colors. The pictures on this post were taken in July and October so you can see La Coulée Verte of Paris through the seasons.
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We have split this stroll into short sections, walking from east to west. For each section, you will find the walking distance, the closest metro station and the closest Vélib station in case you are moving around Paris by bike. Our stroll starts at Rue de Sahel but you can access La Promenade Plantée where you want thanks to stairs and lifts all along the way.
Ways to get the most out of La Coulée Verte
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Section 1: Rue Sahel– Tunnel de Reuilly
Walking Distance: 800m
Metro Station: Bel Air, Line 6; Vélib Station#12022
We access La Coulée Verte through Rue de Sahel /Avenue du General Michel Bizot. After walking some meters we reach the section built in a trench, leaving the hassle of the city above us.
This is a beautiful section, my favorite part, very green and with lush vegetation. This part is also accessible to bikers, rollerbladers, and skateboarders. The path crosses two short tunnels beautifully illuminated. This part ends with a third long tunnel, Le Tunnel de Reuilly. At the end of this tunnel, the section heads to street level.
Section 2: Allée Vivaldi – Jardin de Reuilly
Walking Distance: 350m
Metro Station: Dugommier, Line 6; Vélib Station#12036
Allée Vivaldi is a kind of pedestrian avenue with trees all along its way. We like to walk it when it’s fall in Paris because of the trees’ colors.
Along this avenue, we can still see the ancient Reuilly train station, which was served by la Petite Ceinture. You can see in the picture below how it looked like when La Petite Ceinture was still working. Today the train station is used for social events. At the end of this alley, we need to climb some stairs to reach the bridge which crosses Reuilly Garden.
Section 3: Jardin de Reuilly
Walking Distance: 210 m
Metro Station: Montgallet, Line 6; Vélib Station #12028
This is another cool part of la Coulée Verte because here we are walking 10 m above Jardin de Reuilly, through an elevated walkway.
Maybe this part of the path reminds you of New York’s high-line? Well, you are right! The Promenade Plantée, inaugurated in 1993, was its source of inspiration.
In the summertime, Jardin de Reuilly is packed with people enjoying a picnic or sunbathing while in the fall this garden is usually enjoyed by some lonely walkers.
Section 4: Jardin de Reuilly – Rue de Lyon /Av. Daumesnil
Walking Distance: 1,4 Km
Metro Station: Montgallet, Line 6; Vélib Station #12027
This is the last part of this beautiful nature walk in Paris. At one point a modern building splits in two with the walkway in between, which is very cool! We are always walking 10m above the street level and it is interesting to see the surrounding architecture from another point of view.
I like to describe this part as a “hanging garden”, with some water bodies, different kind of flowers and plants and some shady spots to take a break.
There are never many people around so even if it is a narrow stretch, it is nice to stop and seat on the shade for a break.
Viaduc des Arts
This beautiful stroll finishes at Viaduc des Arts. This is the ancient Viaduct de Bastille, built to support the railway line Paris – Bastille – Vincennes.
At the beginning of the ’80s, the City Council decided to keep and restore this place and dedicate it to arts & crafts. And that’s what you see today: ateliers, workshops, cute cafes, and galleries have taken up residence in the vaulted arches below the garden.
Once you are done with this part, it’s time to go to Bastille Square and the surrounding streets for a more than deserved drink.
Did you like this scenic nature walk in Paris? Are there similar walks in your city?
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