La Promenade Plantée, Paris ‘s best secret


Treasured and guarded by the locals in this emerging part of town, La Promenade Plantée is one of Paris’s best kept secrets. Also known as La Coulée verte, the walkway is the world’s first elevated urban park, on which New York city’s popular High Line was modelled. It’s fascinating example of the creative use of abandoned infrastructure, turning an inner-city eyesore into a stroll in the country. Originally a railroad track, the trail follows the route of the former Vincennes line that extended to the south-easter suburbs of Paris.

The line was shut down in 1969 and by the early 1990’s the track was completely transformed into this intriguing use of public space. Stretching 4.5 kilometres to the Bois de Vincennes, a sprawling public park on the eastern edge of the city, the Promenade Plantée runs almost the entire width of the 12th arrondisssement.

Beneath is Avenue Daumesnil, the red brick arches of the former railroad viaduct have also been restored and transformed into Viaduc des Arts, a succession of art and design studios and bespoke craft workshops, stretching to the Jardin de Reuilly. Occasional stairways down to the street provide access to nip down and browse. There are all sorts of unusual wares and specialists here, from made to order parasols and paper embosser to a producer of mechanical dolls and songbirds. You wont’t trip over these treasures by chance, but the detour is worth it. This is a large slideshow that may take a while to upload….

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