Paris parks look and feel remarkably different from New York City’s parks. More formal and floral, they are often integrated into front and back courtyards or around public buildings in a way that is rarely seen in New York.
Elegant, clean, and neatly trimmed, the parks of Paris evoke late 19th and early 20th century Paris, when it was the artistic and fashion capital of the world, whose cultural hallmarks were a mix of formality and sensuality, and whose civic pride was unrivaled.
The largest and most famous of Paris parks, such as the Bois de Boulogne, and the Jardin du Luxembourg, have long been heralded in French painting and film. They are but the tip of the iceberg. In fact, Paris boasts 400 green oases, some hidden behind formal gates, others easily accessible by anyone seeking respite from the busy buzz of its streets.
Given the creeping homogenization of our global cities, the parks of Paris are, like an authentic baguette, reason enough to visit and wander, as I did, camera in hand.