If during your stay in Paris, you start being tired by all those old buildings and craving nature, I suggest enjoying the Coulée verte elevated walkway accross the 12th. A great place to breathe some fresh air and enjoy a different perspective of Paris.
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INFO & PLANNING TIPS - Coulée Verte
The Coulée verte René-Dumont also called promenade plantée is 4.5 walking path accross the 12th arrondissement of Paris. The green belt has been built on the old railway line which was running between Bastille and Varenne-Saint-Maur.
The modification of the long abandonned rail tracks started in 1988 and was created by Philippe Mathieux et Jacques Vergely. They kept most of the original structure: viaducts, underground tunnels...
Sometimes nature is organised and displayed, sometimes it is left wild.
TIPS FOR TRAVEL PLANNING ADDICTS
Getting to the Coulée Verte
- The promenade starts not far from Bastille (accessible with metro 1, 5 and 8)
- Along the way you can get out or in not far from the stations Dugommier and Bel Air
- It finishes at the Bois de Vincennes (Metro station Saint-Mandé (line 1), Porte Dorée (line 8) or RER Vincennes (RERA)). All stations require some further walking from the end of the Coulée verte
Walking the Coulée verte
- The walk is 4.5 km long
- There are only 3 small streets to cross. Most of it is not at road level so protected from cars
- Avoid Sunday morning as you will get all the joggers.
- There are toilets along the way but sadly they are not always open
- Check out the map of the walk: The light green is the elevated portion and the dark green is the one under the level of the roads while the yellow is where you walk at the building and road level.
Beginning of the Coulée Verte
When in Bastille walk on the right side of the opera and you will reach the viaduct. In its alcoves have been established some artists galleries. The Promenade starts at the top.
On the Viaduct of Promenade Plantée
On the viaduct, you can find the set up of a walkway with narrow and wide areas. In Spring or summer you can admire beautiful flowers along the way or enjoy one of the many benches surrounded by nature.
A thrid of the way on the right you discover the garden Hector-Malot with Canadian Maple trees. I need to go back in Autumns to admire the colors!
Towards the end of the viaduct, a long 'pool' has been built in the middle.
For more hidden gems in the city, you can also check out this list of Paris' secret tips by Salut From Paris
Great views of Paris from the viaduc
What I enjoyed the most about walking on the viaduct was that you get a different perspective on the buildings around. You can view much better the architecture details than from the road
Here is the church Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts nested between buildings.
You can have great views of typical parisian streets:
Crossing over Rue Abel we discover some colorful buildings not really typical of the Parisian style
At the level fo the Diderot Boulevard, you discover a Police offices in a building from 1911. What you can really well see from the promenade are the 14 identical statues at the top. Those are duplicates of the The Dying Slave sculpture by Michelangleo which is kept in the Louvres Museum. This is quite surprising and a little disturbing I must admit.
At the end of the viaduct you reach the Reuilly-Paul-Pernin Garden. You can either cross the suspended bridge in the middle or enter the circular garden and discover some more statues.
At the entrance of the garden are some pictures of the 12th arrondissement in Paris before and now. I hope they keep them and nobody degrades them.
Then you reach the section at the level of the streets and building.
And the old Reuilly station:
Lower section and tunnels
Next you enter un underground section of the path. The train line use to go through those trenches and under those bridges. This is quite impressive. In this section, part of the way is reserved for cycling.
Nature is wilder and it is beautiful.
Want to see MORE of PARIS?
Discover more things to do with planning information and photos in my online Paris Travel Guide.
Have you ever seen anything like it in a big city?
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