There are those who dream about Paris and those who devote their lives to making it a part of their lives. Six years as a local and I can say that my identity is inextricably linked to this place, one of the world's most unequivocally beautiful cities and one of its most storied. It's a hub for hedonists, a wellspring of inspiration for creatives and a haven for history buffs. Get lost, go exploring, eat until your belly hurts and do it all over again.
The First Elevated Park
Paris boasts an unusual elevated park, La Promenade Plantée, built atop an abandoned elevated railway viaduct in the 12th arrondissement.
The Promenade starts a block east of the Place de la Bastille, just beyond the Opera Bastille, and stretches for 2.9 elevated miles. What a clever way to create green space in a neighborhood that badly needed more!
The Promenade features many roses, trellises, shrubs, and trees and is amply provided with benches for relaxing. It is a unique experience to stroll along peering into third story windows while enjoying the flowers, foliage, and architectural detail up close. The work required to create this park is impressive.
Landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux designed the Promenade, which opened in 1993. The arcades of the Viaduc des Arts were renovated in 1989. The Promenade was the only elevated park in the world until the famous Highline in the Chelsea area of Manhattan copied the idea, opening in 2010. Chicago and Philadelphia plan to follow suit with similar elevated parks built on old railway viaducts.
On a spring day, people from the neighborhood sit and chat, a jogger trots by, and office workers enjoy their lunches in the sunshine. At the Bastille end, arts and crafts shops are nestled in the viaduct arches under the parkway, called the Viaduc des Arts. After an elevated stroll, it is fun to window shop.