Parks and gardens in Paris: Coulée Verte

Sladjana Perkovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Coulée Verte (the green flow) is the very first park in the world built on a viaduct, in use since 1993.  Also known as the Promenade Plantée, this most astonishing elevated park and greenway runs seven meters above the busy Parisian streets and boulevards to the Bois de Vincennes, where you can continue your walk through this biggest public park. If you want to escape from the city hustle, then this greenway is a place that you need to put on your to-visit list. 

Photo Credit © Flickr/Guilhem Vellut

History of the park

After the old railway line which linked Bastille and Vincennes was abandoned in 1969, the French authorities decided to transform it into a beautiful green space. The construction of this incredible place was entrusted to the French landscape designer Philippe Mathieux and architect Jacques Vergely. The park was built between 1988 and 1993, and** named Coulée Verte René Dumont, after a famous French engineer in agronomy and an environmental politician. Situated near the Opera Bastille, this green path begins just above the Viaduc des Arts. This 19th-century railroad viaduct was also the part of the renovation project in the 1980s. Patrick Berger, a French architect, imagined it as a place with antic shops and art galleries located under the arches. The Coulée Verte follows the most exciting 4,5 km path, where you can have the most remarkable view over the Parisian buildings, as this green space is mostly situated 7 meters above the street. This inspiring greenway** goes among the trees, rose bushes and plants and ends near the Bois de Vincennes, also known as a green lung of Paris.

Photo Credit © Flickr/Vania Wolf

Inspiration for parks around the planet

The High Line in New York, a 2,33-km-long park opened in 2009 on an abandoned viaduct of the West Side Line, was much inspired by the Parisian Coulée Verte. Chicago was also tempted by this project. In 2015, the authorities of Chicago decided to transform the 4.3 km Bloomingdale railway line into an elevated park named the Bloomingdale Trail. The Coulée Verte was also used as a set in a 2004 American movie “Before Sunset” directed by Richard Linklater, featuring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.

Practical information

The Coulée Verte, the incredible park and greenway in Paris, is easily accessible via numerous stairways and elevators. The western part of this place is reserved for pedestrians, but the eastern part is open for bicycles as well. The access to the Coulée Verte is free of charge, and it is open every day from 8 am to 5:30 pm during the winter, and until 9:30 pm during the summer. This place is especially suitable for children as there are two exciting playgrounds. Also, the Coulée Verte has a basketball court and a lawn where you can picnic.

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