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Finding a local treasure is always a delight in Paris and la Coulée Verte is indeed one of those. La Coulée Verte Paris is an off the beaten path place to stroll surrounded by greenery and unique views of the city.
What’s The Story Behind La Coulée Verte?
La Coulée Verte René-Dumont is an elevated walkway in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. It follows the once well used and then abandoned railway line that ran between Place de la Bastille and Varenne-Saint-Maur. This once busy route, which opened in 1859, was active until the last train pulled out of the Bastille Train Station in 1969.
Stand at Place de la Bastille and look at the modern Opera House, Opéra Bastille, which opened in 1989. That is exactly where a large railway station, la Gare de la Bastille, was located for over one hundred years.
La Coulée-Verte René-Dumont follows the old railway line for 4.5 km (2.8 miles) from behind the Bastille as far as the Bois de Vincennes.
And who is René Dumont? René Dumont was an agronomist and environmentalist who worked hard for rural citizens in France and Africa. In 1974, he was the first-ever candidate to run a “Green” campaign in a French Presidential election. It seems fitting that la Coulée Verte, a stretch of reclaimed land, is named after him.
The Coulée Verte was originally named the Promenade Plantée, and you may still hear it referred to by that name. La Coulée Verte Paris was the inspiration for the High Line in New York City which opened in 2009.
What To Expect On La Coulée Verte
Starting behind the Bastille Opera House, la Coulée Verte runs above Avenue Daumesnil. Before starting your walk along the top of the old viaduct pop into the artisanal boutiques, the Viaduc des Arts, at street level.
Once atop the viaduct, follow the pathways past rosebushes, hazelnut and lime trees, gorgeous garden beds and wild vegetation.
The surprising views of buildings in the 12th arrondissement add to the pleasure of this walk. Being 10 metres (3.28 feet) above street level can be rather intriguing!
You can’t help but be transfixed by the large figures adorning a building on Avenue Daumesnil. In fact, this is the Commissariat de Police for the 12th arrondissement and the enormous figures are based on Michelangelo’s Dying Slave sculpture in the Louvre. The Commissariat de Police, looking somewhat Art Deco in style, was built in 1991 and designed by architects Manolo Nunez- Yanowski and Miriam Teitelbaum
Plan on stopping at the Jardin de Reuilly- Paul Pernin, one of the largest green spaces in the 12th arrondissement. It is a lovely place to stop for a picnic.
Cross the suspended bridge and explore the little gardens and statues at the edge of the park
Right by Jardin de Reuilly-Paul Pernin on rue Albinoni are several large and eye catching pieces of street art.
Ecological in nature, take some time to marvel at the artist Ruben Carrasco’s work.
When you arrive on Allée Vivaldi, there is a Velib station for renting bicycles. This, for me, was the perfect place to change from walking to cycling.
Please note: If you’re feeling a bit peckish, at #38 Allée Vivaldi is a highly recommended Corsican Restaurant.
Follow Allée Vivaldi under the tunnel until you arrive at the Bois de Vincennes.
Once at the Bois de Vincennes, there is plenty of exploring to do. The Floral Garden, the lakes, renting a boat and visiting the Chateau de Vincennes are just a few ways to pass an afternoon at Paris’s largest green space.
I hope you enjoy discovering La Coulée Verte in Paris.
Until next time,
More Paris Info…
If you love finding hidden gems in Paris these articles will interest you:
Montmartre: This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
La Butte aux Cailles, tucked away in the 13th arrondissement, is another place in Paris that has retained its village-like charm. My article on La Butte aux Cailles will lead you to discover the area and its visually enticing street art.
Canal Saint-Martin is another place full of small restaurants, boutiques and plenty of character. Stroll the bridges of the canal under the chestnut trees and feel like a true Parisian. All the details on this “bobo” district are in this article on Canal Saint-Martin.
If you are looking for food suggestions, read about where to find the best croissants in Paris. There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. And if you are exploring the area around Canal Saint-Martin, here are the best places to stop for a bite or to find the fixings for a picnic.
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.