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Updated on 8. February 2023 by Lena
A trip to La Coulée Verte Paris, also known as the Promenade Plantée, the Coulée Verte René-Dumont, or even the Paris High Line, should be on top of your list if you are longing for some greenery.
The elevated boardwalk trail crosses the 12th arrondissement from Place de la Bastille to the outskirts of Paris, until the Château de Vincennes. La Coulée Verte is a lush public park with unique views of Paris, perfect for getting some fresh air, having a picnic, or simply exploring a part of Paris, that is off the Beaten Path.
In fact, the Promenade Plantée is not even known among many Parisians! If you are looking for more hidden gems of Paris, don’t miss these articles:
- Belleville – Complete guide to Paris’ secret village
- 80+ hidden attractions in Paris you need to know about
- Secret bars in Paris – discover Paris’ Speakeasies!
About La Coulée Verte, Paris
The Coulée Verte Paris is very similar to the more known Highline in New York. Both are popular spots for urban nature outings, picnics, and walks, but also to admire art and for unique glimpses of the surrounding metropolis.
But did you actually know that the Coulée Verte in Paris was the world’s first inaugurated high line? The Promenade Plantée in Paris opened to the public already in 1993, 20 years earlier than its American sibling!
La Promenade Plantée: A bit of history
The Parisian Coulée Verte follows the tracks of the former Vincennes Railway Line through the 12th arrondissement. The Railway Line operated from 1859 to 1969 as a passenger, and until 1985 as a freight line between Bastille and Varenne-Saint-Hilaire , a town 20 km outside Paris.
When the rail service ceased operation altogether, the tracks laid abandoned. While the Bastille train station got destructed to make room for Opéra Bastille shortly after, nature reclaimed the tracks.
The architects Jaques Vergely and Philippe Mathieux presented plans to design a parkway along the old tracks in 1988 and the Coulée Verte, also known as the Promenade Plantée, got inaugurated in 1993.
But this wasn’t all. The lovely arcades of the viaduct under the tracks, formerly named “Viaduct de Bastille”, got transformed into art workshops, galleries, and local artisan shops, known today as the “Viduct des Arts”.
If the Coulée Verte seems familiar to you, you maybe have seen the movie “Before Sunset” with Ethan Hawk and Julie Delpy. The Promenade Plantée was one of the filming locations of the Paris-focused part of the Trilogy.
Fun Fact of the Coulée Verte: Many Parisians considered it a waste of money at the time.
The Coulée Verte is only one of the rail wails in Paris that are accessible for recreation. Large sections of the petite ceinture, the old railroad belt around Paris, are open to the public now. Take a look here for more information.
The 5 Sections of the Coulée Verte in Paris
The Paris Highline has a total length of 4.7 km and is subdivided into different sections. If you are walking the Coulée Verte, you can easily wander the entire parkway from start to finish.
However, if you are setting off to explore it by bicycle, you need to know that some sections are inaccessible for cyclists. Read on to know exactly to which section this applies.
#1 Viaduct des Arts
Distance: 1.4 Km • Good for: pedestrians
The first section of the Coulée Verte starts at the Viaduct des Arts at Avenue Daumesnil/ Rue de Lyon. It lies between the Viaduct des Arts and the Jardin de Reuilly. The pedestrian area is a very popular track for runners, especially on Sunday mornings.
This first section is the classical Highline Park with lush vegetation and garden beds left and right. Along the way, you find many benches and seating areas inviting you to rest, surrounded by all sorts of plants and flowers, water fountains, and little art installations.
Thanks to the elevation and the many viewpoints, the gorgeous Parisian cityscape will peak through from time to time. But otherwise, you’re in between greenery and urban nature.
- Avenue Daumesnil/ Rue de Lyon (with elevator for mobility reduced visitors)
- Rue Hector Malot (with elevator for mobility reduced visitors)
- Avenue Daumesnil/Rue de Rambouillet
- Place Moussa
#2 Jardin de Reuilly
Distance: 0,3 • Good for: pedestrians
The Jardin de Reuilly is the Paris high line park, and a luxuriant green patch that makes a nice spot for a picnic or just to take a break and relax a bit. The garden got created between 1992 and 1998 and is a great addition to the Paris High Line Park.
The heart piece of the garden is the central grassland that is, as soon as the sun comes out, a popular hang-out space for locals looking for sunshine. The outskirts of the gardens are, however, more private and shady, with different sections.
When walking to Coulée Verte Rene Dumont in Paris, you can take a detour through the Jardin de Reuilly, or you can cross it in a straight line by using the suspension bridge.
Not to miss: when exiting the garden, fill up your water bottle with sparkling water at one of the fountains! That’s right, the Jardin de Reuilly is one of the few places in Paris where you are not only getting free water, but you can also decide whether you prefer still or sparkling water!
#3 Allée Vivaldi until Tunnel de Reuilly
Distance: 0.4 km • Good for: pedestrians & cyclist
When exiting the Jardin de Reuilly you’ll walk a short section through a residential area, on Allée Vivaldi, until passing through Tunnel de Reuilly. This section is not elevated anymore, it is on street level and also allowed to use by cyclists. If you don’t own your own bike, you can easily rent a Vélib bike at the start of the Allée.
Have you never rented a Vélib bike? It’s straightforward and easy after reading our Vélib in Paris guide!
If you are looking to take a break or sit down for lunch, along the Allée Vivaldi are many restaurants and cafés.
#4 La Promenade Plantée along Rue Sahel
Distance: 1.3 km • Good for: pedestrians & cyclist
After the Jardin de Reuilly, the Promenade Plantée descents first to the street level and descents partially even a bit further after the Tunnel de Reuilly. This section has also separate lanes for cyclists and pedestrians.
The official track for the cyclist isn’t too long, though, but it’s a nice tree-lined stretch. It is also pretty safe, especially if you visit Paris with kids: there are 2 lanes separated by a green batch, one for pedestrians and one for cyclists.
Overall, this is one of the greenest but also the shadiest segment of the Coulée Verte. It follows the trail out of Paris, through tunnels along the tracks. I particularly like this part because, as it is partially below street level, you really get the feel of walking on old train tracks.
Where to end your walk on the Coulée Verte René-Dumont?
The official Coulée Verte goes from Bastille to the Château de Vincennes, 5.3 km, but you can drop out on several points. You also can of cause just enjoy the section on top of the Viaduct des Arts and call it a day. Overall, there are 2 points, that make the most sense:
Château de Vincennes
Ending at the Château is great if you really are in for a walk with lots of nature and a sightseeing tour at the end. The length of this track is 5.3 km plus the time you spend at the Castle. You should consider at least a half-day for this activity.
If you would rather not walk until the Castle of Vincennes, it makes the most sense to stop when reaching Rue Sahel. Here’s why:
Even though you could follow the Coulée Verte until you reach the city belt of Paris, it is not the most convenient. Simply, because there is no Metro station very close to the end of the Parisian inner-city section of the Coulée Verte. You would need to take the tram first or walk further through not very attractive areas.
That’s why I recommend stopping your hike after 2.7 km when reaching Rue Sahel to take the Metro Line 6 at station Bel-Air to get back to central Paris.
How to access the Coulée Verte?
You best start your Paris high line walk at the Viaduct des Arts near Bastille. You find here the first staircase to the Paris Highline. This access also has an elevator.
Bastille , Line 1, 5, and 8. Take Rue de Lyon with the opera on your right and after 200 m you’ll hit upon the Viaduct des Arts. Take the stairs or the elevator to access the Promenade Plantée and start your walk!
Besides this main entrance, there are several access points along the way that you can easily spot.
The Coulée Verte is a public park in Paris and is open every day. Weekends and holidays included. The opening times depend on the day and the season and are rather complicated.
It is probably enough if you keep in mind that the park is open every day, but not late during wintertime.
01/03 – 25/03 • 8:00–19:00 (9:00–19:00 on weekends)
26/03 – 30/04 • 8:00–20:30 (9:00–20:30 on weekends)
01/05 – 31/08 • 7:00–21:30 (8:00–21:30 on weekends)
01/09 – 30/09 • 7:00–20:30 (8:00–20:30 on weekends)
01/10 – 29/10 • 8:00–19:30 (9:00–19:30 on weekends)
30/10 – 28/02 • 8:00–17:45 (9:00–17:45 on weekends)
Paris’ transformation to a (more) eco-friendly city
The Coulée Verte is one of the projects to improve the quality of life and recreation in the urban environment of Paris. If you’ve been to Paris a few years ago and would come back today, you’d probably realize the green difference already. But we’re just at the beginning!
Plans to improve the urban environment of Paris
The world’s biggest urban farm is opened in 2020 on the rooftop of the Paris Expo, and plans to create a park that links the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower are already approved.
We can also look forward to the transformation of the forecourt of the Parisian Town Hall – from a concrete desert to an oasis of trees and greens.
FAQ La Coulée Verte Paris
• How long is the Paris Highline? How long is the Coulee Verte?
The Coulée Verte is supposed to be 4.5 km. Yet, If you measure it, from the entrance to near Bastille until the Highway ring you walk 3.6 km. If you extend your journey to the Château de Vincennes, the distance is 5.7 km.
• Where does Promenade Plantée start?
The starting point is at the Viaduct des Arts, where Avenue Daumesnil meats Rue de Lyon.
• Who is René Dumont?
René Dumont was an agronomist who was among the first who established the term sustainable development in France. He also was the first ecologist candidate who ran for the presidency in France, and is considered the forefather of the green party.
The Coulée Verte is not the only tribute to him in Paris. You can also visit the Jardin d’agronomie tropicale René-Dumont, also called the “Human Zoo of Paris“.
• What can you do at La Coulee Verte?
• What is La Coulee?
• Where are the entrances of the coulée verse in Paris?
Do you need more ideas for your upcoming Paris trip? Check out our list with more than 80 non-touristy things to do in Paris!
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