April in Paris has an aura of romance around it. There is something special about the spring energy emitting from the blooming flowers that makes the city come alive in a way it hasn’t been in months.
The sun shines bright and the grass glows green, beckoning us city dwellers to come sit and appreciate the fresh bounties of the season which we may sometimes forget are all around us. At the numerous public parks and gardens easily accessible around Paris, tulips pop up for our attention, cherry blossoms expand in puffy clouds of pink, and daisies delicately dance in the wind.
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Whether you are a nature lover or simply looking for a serene spot to relax and soak up some fresh air, Paris has plenty of options to offer. From the grandeur of the Jardin des Tuileries to the tranquil paths in Parc Monceau, each garden and park has its own unique charm that will leave you feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to return to absorb it all over again.
Jardin des Plantes
Jardin des Plantes is a garden lover’s gem on the edge of the Latin Quarter. With a history dating back to the 17th century, it is home to more than 10,000 species of plants and several historic buildings, including the Natural History Museum. The garden is also home to a zoo, a maze, and two impressive greenhouses that showcase rare and exotic plants. In April, one of its most special features is the monstrous cherry blossom trees that bloom bursts of pink for a short few weeks.
Jardin du Luxembourg
One of the most picturesque and popular gardens in Paris is Jardin du Luxembourg, located down the hill from the Pantheon in the 6th arrondissement. A few of the many things you will find in this animated park are manicured lawns with open space to picnic, flowerbeds that are updated seasonally, tennis and pétanque courts, and a central fountain with mini sailboats. This garden completely springs to life when the sun comes out with everyone hunting for a seat in one of the park’s green reclining chairs. It is also home to the Luxembourg Palace, the former home of Queen Marie de Médici, which today houses the French Senate.
Jardin des Tuileries
The lungs of Paris, sandwiched between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde, is Jardin des Tuileries, one of the most historic and grand gardens in the city. Originally designed in the 16th century, these royal gardens were re-landscaped by André Le Nôtre, the famous gardener of King Louis XIV, in 1664 to give them the French formal garden style which it still features to this day. You will find several sculptures by famous artists like Rodin and Giacometti, outdoor cafes and restaurants, ponds with reclining chairs to relax in, and the Musée de l’Orangerie which houses Monet’s famous water lilies series.
Tucked away in the 8th arrondissement down the road from the Arc de Triomphe is an intimate park surrounded by impressive luxury Haussmann buildings. Parc Monceau is a favorite public space among locals, and you will find it packed with families on the weekends. Built in the 17th century, the garden features an idyllic pond with a classical colonnade, a beautiful bridge, and several sculptures and monuments. The park is a popular spot for people picnicking and relaxing as well as for runners who enjoy a perfect path around the perimeter.
Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil
Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, situated in the 16th arrondissement on the southwest corner of the city, is a unique public garden that features a collection of botanical greenhouses. It is home to over 6,000 species of plants and trees from around the world, including multiple varieties of palm trees, desert succulents, and tropical rainforest plants. The serene space is both a peaceful place to relax and also an exciting opportunity to travel to gardens around the world in just a few steps!
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
To experience one of the most unique and natural gardens in Paris, head to the hills of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the famed Montmartre neighborhood. The park is built on the site of an old quarry and features steep cliffs with caves and waterfalls, a suspended bridge, a manmade lake, and stunning views of the city. If you like to picnic, this is a perfect location to lounge on the hillside with a bottle of wine, but if you prefer a proper table to eat at, you can also visit the lively Rosa Bonheur restaurant and bar situated at the top of the park for casual fare and fun music.
Parc Floral de Paris
In the heart of Bois de Vincennes, the massive forest to the east of the city, is one of the largest and most diverse public gardens in Paris, Parc Floral de Paris. With thousands of species of plants, a butterfly house, and a bonsai garden, this is a perfect destination for nature lovers and those seeking a meditative break from the bustle of the city. Steps away from the gorgeous Château de Vincennes, the park also hosts several music festivals and cultural events throughout the year including the Paris Jazz Festival all summer long.
Parc de Bagatelle
Parc de Bagatelle, located in the Bois de Boulogne forest to the west of Paris, is one of the most romantic and picturesque botanical gardens. This charming space is home to a stunning array of flora and fauna that will leave you breathless. In addition to the impressive château, a main highlight of Bagatelle is the magnificent rose garden which features 10,000 rose bushes from 1,200 different species. From the vibrant colors and smells of the romantic roses to the tranquil sound of the waterfalls and streams, this park is a feast for the senses.
No matter the season, the parks and gardens are an integral part of this vibrant city and a must-visit to experience the botanic history and natural beauty of Paris.