Few Parisians know about la Coulée Verte (also known as Promenade Plantée), located in the 12th District of Paris. It is a pity because this is one of the most beautiful Paris walks and a good way to escape the hassle of Paris without leaving the city.
ABOUT THE COULÉE VERTE IN PARIS
La Coulée Verte links Bastille Square to Porte Dorée and Bois de Vincennes, following part of the ancient railway (la Petite Ceinture) which stopped working in 1969. This 4,5 km nature walk car-free is a world apart, crossing tunnels, trenches, and long bridges. We like to do this walk in summer, to escape the high temperatures, or in autumn for its colors. Pictures on this post were taken in July and October. We have split this stroll into different parts. For each part, we indicate the distance, the closest metro station and the closest Vélib station (only the first part can be done by bike). We start our walk at Rue de Sahel but you can join where you want thanks to its stairs and lifts all along the way.
RUE SAHEL – TUNNEL DE REUILLY
M. Bel Air L6; Vélib station#12022
We start walking la Coulée Verte through Rue de Sahel /Avenue du General Michel Bizot. After walking some meters we enter the part built in a trench, leaving the hassle of the city above us. This is a beautiful part, my favorite part, very green and with lush vegetation. A double path allows people to do it by foot or by bike. The path crosses two short tunnels nice illuminated. This part ends with a third long tunnel, le Tunnel de Reuilly. At the end of this tunnel, we are again at the same level than the streets of Paris.
ALLÉE VIVALDI – JARDIN DE REUILLY
M. Dugommier, L6; Vélib station#12036
Allée Vivaldi is a kind of pedestrian avenue with trees all along its way. We like to walk it in autumn because of the colors of the trees. Along this avenue, we can see the ancient Reuilly train station, which was served by la Petite Ceinture. You can see below how it looked like when the ancient railway was still working. Today the building 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.
JARDIN DE REUILLY
Distance: 210 m
M. Montgallet, L6; Vélib station #12028
This is another cool part of la Coulée Verte because here we are walking 7 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 was its source of inspiration. In summertime Jardin de Reuilly is packed with people enjoying a picnic or sunbathing while in autumn this garden is only enjoyed by some lonely walkers.
JARDIN DE REUILLY – RUE DE LYON/AV DAUMESNIL
Distance: 1,4 Km
M. Montgallet, L6; Vélib station #12027
This is the last part of our stroll. We are always walking along an elevated garden 7 m above the street level. Sometimes we even go through the buildings!
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. This part is also cool because you can see Paris from another point of view, we are very close to the city’s roofs!
VIADUC DES ARTS
When you’ve finished enjoying the gardens, go down to the street level and wander along the Viaduc des Arts. This is the ancient Viaduct de Bastille, built to support the railway line Paris – Bastille – Vincennes. At the beginning of the 80’s the City Council decided to 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. When you have seen this part, it’s time to go to Bastille Square and the streets around for a more than deserved drink.
Did you like this walk? Are there similar walks in your city?
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