Travel & Sports

Published on November 25th, 2023 | by Isabelle Karamooz, Founder of FQM


Embarking on a Parisian Garden Adventure: A Local’s Comprehensive Guide

Ah, the allure of Paris! After navigating the bustling streets, every soul yearns for a retreat into the serenity of green havens. As a proud native of France, let me whisk you away on a personal journey through the city’s most enchanting gardens, where history, nature, and a touch of magic converge.

Photo Credit: BAE JUN

Jardin du Luxembourg: Where History Meets Tranquility

In the heart of the left bank lies Luxembourg Park, a tapestry of history woven by the newly widowed Queen and Regent of France, Marie de Medici, in 1611. Her vision, inspired by Florence’s Pitti Palace, led to the creation of a palace and a fountain, masterfully crafted by architect Solomon de Brosse. The garden’s evolution, marked by greenery-lined terraces, balustrades, and parterres, mirrors the city’s own metamorphosis. During the 20th century, the Luxembourg gardens became a cherished retreat for influential artists and writers, drawing in the vibrant energy of the so-called “Lost Generation” of Americans. Imagine this: Gertrude Stein’s apartment, a hub of creativity and intellectual exchange, was just a stone’s throw away on Rue de Fleurus, making the gardens an intimate extension of their artistic world. And before you embark on this historical journey, treat yourself to the artisanal delights of Berthillon’s ice cream, just a stone’s throw away.

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Park Monceau: A Stroll Through Elegance

In the 8th arrondissement, Park Monceau unfolds as a regal escape conceived by Philippe d’Orléans, the Duke of Chartres, in the late 18th century. Designed by artist Louis Carrogis Carmontelle, the park’s initial allure boasted Roman-style colonnades, water lily ponds, and a Dutch windmill. Evolving with the times, the park transformed into a blend of English and classical elements under Baron Haussmann’s watchful eye. As a native, I’ve meandered through its iron gates countless times, enchanted by the flowering hillsides and the allure of hidden corners.

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Take a pause to explore the adjacent Le Camondo, a new Parisian address on the border of the 8th and 17th arrondissements. Located within the eponymous museum next to Parc Monceau, Le Camondo offers a warm and inviting space boasting a cozy atmosphere. The interior design, reminiscent of an elegant conservatory with the spirit of a private club, features a large bar as the central element, inviting guests to share moments together. The former parking garage’s coffered ceiling and metallic columns, retained in time, create a unique ambiance. Le Camondo opens onto a paved courtyard, providing an idyllic setting for lunches and dinners on beautiful sunny days—akin to a secret garden. This culinary gem perfectly complements the elegance of Park Monceau.

Also, extend your delightful experience by visiting Café de la Paix, one of the legendary Paris venues, for a quick coffee on the terrace, a light gourmet lunch, or a tempting homemade pastry. It’s a place for stolen moments, shared with someone special—a romantic parenthesis in the whirlwind of city life.

Jardin des Plantes: Botanical Bliss in the 5th Arrondissement

In the historic 5th arrondissement, the Jardin des Plantes stands as a testament to French passion for science and nature. As a local, I’ve marveled at the legacy of French education within its green embrace. From its medicinal origins in 1635 to the expansive zoo (Ménagerie), this botanical haven thrives as a refuge for endangered species. As a family-friendly park, the Jardin des Plantes invites visitors of all ages to explore the wonders of its ecological garden and embrace the spirit of conservation. After your stroll, enjoy an artisanal coffee at Coutume Café, adding a touch of sophistication to your botanical adventure.

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Buttes Chaumont: A Verdant Escape

Venturing to the northeastern edge, Buttes Chaumont unfolds as a hidden gem offering a verdant escape from city life. The hills, the lake, the craggly cliff – it’s a symphony of nature’s wonders. As a native, I’ve felt the time-traveling charm of this park, heightened by its unique features. In the 19th century, Baron Haussmann, like an artist with a vision, poured his heart into transforming the park. He worked his magic, redesigning its essence with wide walking paths, inviting alleyways, new trees, and perfectly placed beds of greenery. Statues and busts became silent storytellers amidst this rejuvenation. The park we wander through today is, in many ways, a living canvas that echoes the spirit of Haussmann’s era, each element a testament to his transformative touch. Conclude your day with artisanal ice cream from Une Glace à Paris, followed by an aperitif at Rosa Bonheur for the perfect finale to your lush escape in Buttes Chaumont.

Photo Credit: Céline

Albert Kahn Museum Gardens: A Global Oasis

Now, let’s add a personal touch to your journey. Nestled on the banks of the Seine, the Albert Kahn Museum Gardens in Boulogne-Billancourt offer an almost-hidden paradise where landscapes and cultures merge. In this 4-hectare garden, I’ve wandered through plots designed by Albert Kahn himself. Each area, from the Vosges forest to the Japanese gardens, tells a story of nature and cultural diversity.

Photo Credit: Mathias Reding

As a native, I invite you to lose yourself in this personal Eden, a testament to peace and philanthropy. After your tranquil stroll, enhance the experience with a delightful cup of coffee or tea at Café de l’Homme — a charming spot located nearby. Situated at 17 Place du Trocadéro, this establishment not only offers a warm ambiance but also provides a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. Explore more at Albert Kahn Museum Gardens.

Embark on this journey, dear visitor, and let the enchantment of Parisian gardens weave its timeless magic around you.

Header Photo Credit: Nadin

About the Author

is originally from Versailles, France. Isabelle harbored a lifelong fascination with exploring the world. Her journey began at 17 when she seized the opportunity to study abroad in Rhonda, Spain, igniting a passion for travel that took her across continents. From vibrant Hong Kong to picturesque Ireland, from the historic streets of Italy to the enchanting landscapes of Morocco, she embraced diverse cultures and experiences, truly embodying the spirit of a global citizen. After several years of exploration, Isabelle found a sense of home in Los Angeles, where she immersed herself in the vibrant cultural scene while working at the French Consulate. With a deep-seated love for the arts and history, she pursued her academic endeavors, earning a Bachelor's degree in History from the University of California, Berkeley. Furthering her dedication to education, she has studied to pursue a Master's program in teaching at the University of Southern California, eventually sharing her knowledge and passion as a French instructor for aspiring students at UNLV and CSN in Nevada. Driven by her passion for storytelling and cultural exchange, Isabelle founded French Quarter Magazine, where she serves as the Editor-in-Chief. In this role, she orchestrates the publication's diverse content, from conducting interviews and pitching story ideas to capturing captivating moments through photography. Currently, she is channeling her creative energies into her first English-language work, a novel that delves into the compelling life of Coco Chanel. Filled with adventure, intrigue, and a touch of romance, her debut novel promises to captivate readers with its rich tapestry of history and emotion.

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