Tired of shopping and museums? See what Parisians do in their moments of leisure by enjoying Paris’ beautiful parks and gardens. Many of these parks, forests and gardens are free, and all are easy to get to. If you’re traveling with children, visiting a park on your trip is also a welcome break for them and a chance for you to reflect on your vacation.
Try searching for hotels in Paris France at Venere.com to find something as close to culture and dining as possible. But, choosing accommodation near one of the city’s great parks will give you more kid-friendly options close at hand.
Bois de Vincennes
This is Paris’ largest park, and so has the most opportunities for a variety of activities. Originally part of a hunting preserve, the Bois de Vincennes was landscaped in the mid-1800s. Now, it boasts an English-style landscaped garden that encompasses two lakes, a hippodrome and a velodrome. Also in the spacious 995 hectares is the Château de Vincennes, where King Henry V of England died in the 1400s after falling ill during battle.
Jardin des Tuileries
A favorite spot of Parisian people-watchers since it opened to the public following the French Revolution, the Jardin des Tuileries is between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde. It is the garden for the Tuileries Palace.
Jardin des Plantes
This former royal botanical garden is now part of the French National Museum of Natural History. The garden has beds of planted flowers and trees, galleries of the museum, a zoo and a school of botany.
Parc André Citroën
Smaller than the parks listed above, the Parc André Citroën still packs a lot of enjoyment into 14 hectares. The site of a former Citroën car factory, it was turned over to the city in the 1990s and remodeled for public use. It features dancing fountains, two greenhouses of exotic blooms and six themed gardens.
Paris’ second-largest public park, these gardens were originally meant for the grounds of the Luxembourg Palace, now the French Senate. It was created in the 1600s by Marie de’ Medicis, who wanted to evoke the feeling of her hometown — Florence, Italy — in the palace and gardens. Children visiting here will enjoy sailing boats in the fountains, the vintage carousel, a playground and a puppet theater.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Visitors come to this park to see the cliff-top Temple de la Sibylle, which is a miniature replica of the Temple of Vesta in Italy. There is also a grotto, waterfalls, a suspension bridge above an artificial lake, and more for children to explore.
Bois de Boulogne
The second-largest park in Paris, this “bois” is more than two times bigger than New York’s Central Park. Children will love the Jardin d’Acclimation amusement park and zoo, and sports fans can check out the site of the French Open here.
Perhaps the narrowest park on this list, the Promenade plantée is a tree-lined greenbelt almost three miles long. The most unusual feature of the park is that it is built on old railway viaducts, so for a portion of the park visitors are elevated a story or more above street level.
The highest park in Paris, the Parc de Belleville provides stunning views of the city — and even of the Eiffel Tower. Kids can enjoy open-air theater, puppet shows and the waterfall fountain.
Visit the historic Parc Monceau for its collection of “follies” — small replicas of a pyramid, Chinese fort and other architectural items from around the world. The park also has many statues of famous writers and artists, so it’s a great introduction to a history and culture lesson for the older children in your group.
About the Author: Louise Vinciguerra is a fantastic joke teller, has a million and one hobbies, and enjoys matching her fonts with her moods. This Brooklyn native dirties her hands in content on weekdays and as a devout nature lover, dirties them in soil on the weekends. When she’s not on Facebook, WordPress or Twitter, she’s traveling in search of fun food, dabbling in urban farming or planning nature trips from her resident city of Rome. When she’s not doing any of the above, she sleeps.