01 of 06
Havens of Peace and Greenery Away From the City Hoopla
The French capital has much to offer, but if there’s one thing lacking, it’s space. The need to squeeze, adjust and think creatively not only applies to living space (most Parisians live in tiny apartments) but also to gardening and agriculture. In the past few years, urban farming and community gardens have exploded in popularity in Paris, with miniature plots of land popping up on rooftops, in quiet corners and even on bustling avenues.
In truth, urban farming isn’t a completely newfangled concept in Paris, nor is it an invention of hipster millennials. As far back as the 17th century, urban farmers – or maraîchers – used small-scale agricultural techniques that are still carried out in many places today. While the practice was essentially pushed out of the city in World War II during the German occupation, it has since made its great return.
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Today, Paris’s urban farms have a community feel, with the public and the city working together to make the city an agricultural capital once again – but in a new way. The urban farms profiled in the next slides are quaint, charming and accessible, and burst with plant life, even during the wintery months. Head to these green havens in the east of the city to enjoy a leisurely day of strolling, or for ideas on how to create your own miniature farm once you get back home. Click through for our full list.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
La REcyclerie, Urban Garden in an Old Rail Station
This former railway station is now the site of a bustling meeting place for creative types, hipsters, and nature lovers. Part restaurant/bar, part community center, La REcyclerie is a massive complex where you can grab lunch, take gardening classes or admire the impressive community garden. Everything here-- from the recycling bins in the restaurant space, to wood chip-covered pathways – has been installed with environmental sustainability in mind. The urban farm, run by local members, includes 16 chickens, an aromatic garden, fruit trees, a 400m2 vegetable garden and two compost systems.
The farm is also in close reach of the uber-popular Puces de St-Ouen flea market, also located right near Metro Porte de Clignancourt. A visit to both would make for an excellent morning or afternoon excursion.
Address: 83 boulevard Ornano, 18th arrondissement
Metro: Porte de ClignancourtContinue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Urban Farm #2: Jardins Passagers de la Villette
What was once an industrial wasteland is now a glorious 3,000m2/32,300ft2 agricultural space within the sprawling Parc de la Villette, well-known for its elaborate thematic gardens.
At the Jardins Passagers, you’ll find an area of land that has been carefully cultivated, complete with arbors and beehives, and another space that has been left to grow wild. Flower boxes have been constructed up off the ground to make it easier for those with reduced mobility to take part in the gardening activities offered at various points throughout the year. This is also an ideal urban garden for kids to enjoy.
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Once you finish admiring the gardens, why not wander across the rest of the sprawling park, or stop in to the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (Science and Industry Museum) for a fascinating exhibition?
Jardins passagers de la Villette
Address: 211 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 19th arrondissement
Metro: Parc de la VilletteContinue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
#3: Funky, Arty Garden at Rue Fessart and Rue Clavel
While grandiose gardens are impressive to look at, one of the best parts of Paris’s urban farming trend is happening upon one unintentionally. This subtly fabulous, decidedly funky community garden is nestled in the worming streets on the edge of the city, near the Buttes-Chaumont Park.
So after you take a gander at this truly urban farm (complete with street art decorating the surrounding buildings), walk a few blocks to Rue Botzaris to stroll through one of Paris’s most charming parks. Before you head into the park, stop in for a drink or bite at L’Escargot (50 Rue de la Villette), a lively restaurant-bar serving food and drinks to the neighborhood’s faithful hipsters.
Rue Fessart and Rue Clavel Gardens (19th arrondissement)
Metro: Jourdain, Botzaris, or Place des FetesContinue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Urban Garden #4: Jardin Partagé Leroy Sème
This community garden gets lots of love, evidenced by its bursting flowers, fruit trees and lush vegetable patches. Gardeners dedicate their time not only to keeping up the plant life, but also organizing events that get the neighborhood involved, like its recent yard sale complete with knitting lessons.
Once you’ve seen the garden, wander through the Cité Leroy, a haunting village dating back to 1869. Its miniature apartments, overflowing flower-boxes and winding paths will no doubt have you daydreaming about snagging one of these much-sought-after-residences. Curious to see inside? Several of the city’s painters and artists live here and once a year, you can duck into their workshops during the Belleville Open Studios event.
Location: Cité Leroy and Rue des Pyrénées, 20th arrondissement
Visit the website (in French)Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Urban Garden #5: Place Frehel and Rue de Belleville
Perched in between the Menilmontant and Belleville neighborhoods, this community garden is a space to admire not only the budding plants and flowers but also the area's abundant street art. Large murals fill the walls surrounding the garden and the next-door Culture Rapide (103 Rue Julian Lacroix, just off of Rue de Belleville) is a great place to stop in for a coffee or beer or hang out on the outdoor terrace. Every Thursday at 8 pm, the bar offers a literary open mic night in English, featuring spoken word poetry, musical theater, and comedy.
Poetry not your thing? You can also head up the road to the Parc de Belleville, a hilly, flower-filled expanse of land. Or, if you’re up for some Chinese food, go down Rue de Belleville a few paces to enter into one of Paris’s two Chinatown neighborhoods with tasty restaurants galore.
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Location: Place Frehel, Rue de Belleville