Local Experiences

The Hidden Gardens of Paris

With the weather getting crisper, you’ll need to keep your feet moving as you explore Paris. A cold winter’s day with a bright blue sky is perfect for discovering the city on foot. It’s during walking adventures like this, hands firmly in your pockets and your breath misting in front of you, that Paris shows you her secrets.

Her hidden parks and gardens, for example…!

Le Jardin de la Nouvelle France

Where Avenue Roosevelt meets the Cours de la Reine
Open 24h

The green gate on the Avenue Franklin Roosevelt does little to encourage passers-by to enter. Which is probably a good thing, because the “New France” garden is right next to the swarming Champs Elysées, and if all the tourists knew about this gem of a garden, its peace and tranquaility would be ruined. There’s a waterfall, a pond, a cute bridge…and even an otter!

Les Arènes de Lutèce

49 Rue Monge, 75005
Open from 8am/9am to sunset

Not so much “hidden” as “easy to pass by”, the Arènes de Lutèce are located in Paris’ Latin quarter, the 5th arrondissement. Listed as a historical monument, they are among the most important gallo-roman remains of the city. Previously used for gladiator fights, the arena now hosts games of pétanque, frisbee or the occasional outdoor performance. Around the arena is a garden with a playground for kids, and I’ve never known it to be busy.

L’Institut Suédois

11 Rue Payenne/10 Rue Elzévir, 75003
Open 12pm-6pm Tuesday-Sunday

The Swedish cultural center in Paris is located at the heart of the charming Marais district, and is perfect for a relaxing sit-down away from the madding crowds. On the rue Payenne side, the courtyard is cobbled, with a few outdoor tables. But on the rue Elzévir, you’ll find a well-kept peaceful lawn, often used for art exhibitions. Sit on one of the benches and listen to the birds. Lovely!

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La Musée de la Vie Romantique

16 Rue Chaptal, 75009
Open all day except Monday

The courtyard and garden at this small but perfectly-formed museum at the foot of Montmartre provide a real haven. It’s one of my favorite places to warm my hands around a hot café crème on a sharp winter’s day.

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A family by the eiffel tower.