This summer, I finally was able to see a spot in Paris that I’ve been wanting to visit for a few years. La coulée verte, formerly known as La Promenade plantée, is similar to New York’s Highline, a former elevated rail line, converted to a walkway. The former rail line, which extended from the train station at the Place de la Bastille to La Varenne-Saint-Maur, operated from 1853 to 1969. It was transformed in the early 90’s into a charming three mile long garden.
To find it, go to the artisan boutiques, the Viaduct des Arts, on avenue Daumesnil, near the Bastille in the 12th Arrondissement, and climb the stairs that lead to La Coulée verte. It’s just elevated enough to give you a different perspective on the city. You’ll see rooftops and tree canopies instead of the street, and even in Paris, that’s pretty sweet. If you like, you can contine all the way to the parc de Vincennes, have a picnic, and then catch line 1 on the métro back to the heart of the city.
La Coulée verte (lah koo-lay vehrte) can be translated as “the green flow” and that’s what this pathway is like, a river of green flowing through Paris.