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  • Culture  /  Voyage

    Secret gardens of Paris

    17 December 2015

    WHEN travelling, sometimes getting lost can make a good trip a great one, turning it into something remarkable. Straying off the map can lead to unexpected adventures, especially when a city as beguiling as Paris accidentally reveals its secrets. Here are a couple of locations worth stumbling across.

    Promenade Plantee

    A former railway line has been turned into a river of green running through a 5km stretch of the 12th arrondissement. Climb any of the staircases along avenue Daumesnil and the lush, elevated garden is all yours.

    It’s the ideal location for picnickers, with lots of secluded enclaves, and for voyeurs, with advantageous views taking in the Paris skyline and a great Rear Window-esque view of those classic French apartments – just leave binoculars at home. When you finally wend your way back onto the street, don’t miss the rows of boutiques and cafes nestled under imposing brick arches.

    Jardin Alpin

    DON’T bother looking out for Julie Andrews – wrong Alps – but tucked in the middle of the Paris’ left bank, you’ll find a small oasis that is home to roughly two thousand plant species usually found in mountainous areas such as the Rockies and the Himalayas. These plants get the chance to thrive in the middle of the city thanks to thoughtful planting and geography. Set in a narrow valley, the trees help stabilize the microclimate, which in turn helps create perfect conditions. To find this secret garden, you’ll need to head down the main avenue of the park, and halfway along look for a tunnel, which leads to the gardens.

    Jardin Anne Frank

    TUCKED behind the visually loud and hectic Centre George Pompidou, among the wafting aromas from the nearby falafel cafes in the Marais, you’ll find a peaceful little space dedicated to Anne Frank. Named after the author whose diary detailed the last years of her life as she and her family hid from the Nazis during WWII, this garden may not be grand, but with its small pond and stunning trellis work, it provides a tranquil pause for locals and the few tourists with the curiosity to look for it.