Coulée Verte – the unknown side of Paris

It’s way too hot in the city for the past few days. I know, before that we were all complaining about “summer not being here yet”, “when is it going to start” etc. Well, it started, and it’s too hot now. And the only way you can escape this heat in a stone-clad city, apart from fleeing Paris itself to a cool countryside or breezy sea location, it is to find a lovely green spots in the city. And elbow your way to a thickest shade.

So, it is in this quest of lovely green spots I have found Coulée verte René-Dumont  which also called Promenade Plantée. It’s a tree-lined walkway which was converted from an old Vincennes railway line. It starts at Rue de Lyon, next to metro Bastille, stretches for about 4.5 kilometers and finishes with a dead-end, almost at Bois De Vincennes.

In my perception, this walk has four parts in it, which are different from each other. It starts and continues on the old viaduct, high up above the ground, a manicured garden with a wooden planks covered  walkway,  lots of benches and it is quite sunny. But what it lacks in shade it makes up in the beauty of the flowering bushes, plants, arches and views of the streets underneath it. At a certain point, you meet a thick corridor of bamboo , which gives you a strange impression that you are not really in Paris, but rather in a lush park somewhere in Asia.

After you have passed the cute bridge at Jardin de Reuilly with a grass patch under it, full of sunbathers (next time I am coming with a swimming suit!), the path descends and for some time looks just like any alley until you reach a refreshing looking fountain, in which I desperately wanted to jump, and after that it changes, turning into very shady walk passing through the tunnels and surrounded by thick vegetation climbing up on the both sides of the road.

The next part was the most relaxing. In fact, the further you go, the fewer people you meet, which is a bonus when you live in a big, busy city. Here, the giant linden trees fill the air with the sweet aroma, there are a lot of benches in the shade, leisurely working gardeners and hissing sprinklers – a perfect spot to come here with a book. Or a sandwich.

After you pass through this part, you will see the last stretch, the most wildest one. You will walk on the path between a slightly overgrown vegetable garden on one side and a trees and bushes of wild berries on another, behind which raise backsides of the residential buildings.. We met nobody there, the atmosphere was sleepy and heavy with the smell of grass and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was on the Russian dacha in a hot summer day.

We were there during the weekday, so presumably it will be more people enjoying it on the weekend, but it is still a lovely walk, which can show you a different, unknown face of Paris, which I, for example, never seen.

Coulée Verte opens at 8.30. Closing time varies from 17.45 to 21.30 (depending from the season)

What is your favorite spots in Paris, where you hide from the summer heat?

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3 thoughts on “Coulée Verte – the unknown side of Paris

  1. The place in which I love to relax in the shade is a small museum “le musée de la vie romantique” (romantic life museum). This hidden museum (you could pass it without noticing it) is one of the most peaceful places in Paris.

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