Travel tales

Paris’ Promenade Plantée: The original High Line park

Paris’ Promenade Plantée

New York may have its High Line elevated park on a former railway line in Manhattan, but Paris got there first back in 1993 with the Promenade Plantée. Stretching for almost five kilometres across the 12th arrondissement, this narrow raised park follows the route of the old Vincennes railway line which closed down in 1969. Previously the line had linked the Place de la Bastille to eastern Paris for 100 years, but it was replaced by a new RER route so became redundant and was abandoned. Ten years on the area had turned into an eyesore, with overgrown tracks and crumbling viaducts and was scheduled for demolition. But it was saved and turned into an urban park known as the Promenade Plantée – or planted walkway – a secret garden above the city where you can walk or sit and relax among the trees.

Promenade Plantée walks

Walking along the Promenade Plantée

The Promenade Plantée starts just south of the Opéra Bastille, with steps leading up from Avenue Daumesnil above the Viaduc des Arts. Here the red-brick vaulted archways underneath the old railway tracks have been restored and renovated. The 64 arches now house shops and galleries celebrating the art and crafts of the area. These range from porcelain painting workshops and sculpture galleries to antique shops and artisans who create their own handmade musical instruments. You can watch some of the craftsmen at work, pick up some unique gifts, or just stop for a drink in one of the cafés.

Viaduc des Arts

Shops and restaurants along the Viaduc des Arts

The first section of the Promenade Plantée runs above the viaduct for around 1.5 km and is lined with trees and plants – bamboo, roses, wisteria, cherry and maple trees – mixed in with archways, benches and narrow ponds. You get a different perspective on the city from above, looking down on passers by and up at the art deco detailing on some of the surrounding buildings. Though sometimes the trees block out the city entirely and you can almost forget where you are. At the end of the viaduct you pass through an apartment building and head down into the Jardin de Reuilly. This used to be an old freight station but now has a big lawned area for picnics, crossed by an arching metal and wood footbridge. There’s also a café, and it’s edged by walkways and terraces lined with sculptures.

Promenade Plantée

Arches and sculptures along the Promenade Plantée

The next part of the route runs through some modern buildings (we thought we were got lost here but keep straight on) until you pass under a railway tunnel and back into parkland. Here you’re below the level of the surrounding streets in a railway cutting, with a parallel cycle route running through a canopy of trees and ivy-covered tunnels. At the end of the route a metal spiral staircase leads up to Boulevard Carnot, where you can walk to the Bois de Vincennes – a huge park covering almost 1000-hectares of land in eastern Paris.

Autumn leaves on the Promenade Plantée

Autumn leaves on the Promenade Plantée

For years Paris’ Promenade Plantée was the only elevated parkway in the world but the idea has spread, not just to New York’s High Line but there are also plans for similar parks in Chicago and Philadelphia. But if you want to see the original or just want to escape the crowds and see a different side of Parisian life, then take a walk along the Promenade Plantée.

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Paris’ Promenade Plantée: The original High Line park – On the Luce travel blog

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  • Reply
    Ship's Cook
    November 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I’m definitely going to take a look at that next time I’m in Paris

  • Reply
    Peas and Cougars
    November 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    What a gorgeous park! Love the fall colors.

  • Reply
    Mikalee Byerman
    November 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    I want to go THERE!

    Beautiful pictures — looks like gorgeous weather, and such vibrant colors…


  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Wonderful post, Lucy! Wonderful *blog,* too — I’m looking forward to reading much more from you. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I just love everything about Paris! And btw, I love how you layout your post. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    This looks beautiful – I hope to check this out next time I’m in Paris.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I love the colours!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    It is indeed a very nice place to visit in Paris. Every time I go to Paris I like to go there and take some peaceful time off to relax.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Fabulous piece Lucy. What a coup to find somewhere like this to write about. If I make it to Paris it will absolutely go on the list. Congrats on being FP- richly deserved.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Oh wow, this looks great, will definitely have to visit this the next time I’m in Paris, and also the one in New York too…ah, I’m feeling inspired, thank you!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    You inspire me to travel over there. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm


  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    That’s a great post! Very interesting. I didn’t know anything about this until I read your blog.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks Gerard, I’ll check it out. I’m going to New York next week so will have to go and compare the High Line to the Paris version while I’m there!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Lovely pics. I really want to go back to Paris.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Yes! I’m so glad the Promenade is getting some hype among all this High Line madness! I absolutely loved it when I was there- glad you felt the same way.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Beautiful post. Note to myself: must go to Paris next spring.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    How have I not been here yet? I plan to go next week. Done and done. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Lucy Dodsworth
    November 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks to everyone for all the lovely comments. Being on Freshly Pressed has been a bit overwhelming – I’ve had more views today than the whole of last month! Thanks to everyone for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post.
    Lucy x

  • Reply
    Aileen Torres
    November 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Beautiful. I’d love to visit one day.

  • Reply
    Romantic Asian Guy
    November 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Aww I LOVE all those fall colors! Paris, promenade, and walking paths in nature…what more could a guy ask for?

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    The photos are beautiful. All of the Fall colors are glowing in these pictures

  • Reply
    Laura Leigh Goyer
    November 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Excellent post!

    I was there just last month and was lucky enough to find this hidden walkway. I couldn’t help wondering at the time what it must have been like to live in one of those apartments when the trains were still running there. It was such a narrow path between the two buildings!

    I turned around at the little carousel just past the suspension bridge thinking that was the end of the path. Now I’ll know better for next time.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Great post – I had no idea this existed! I definitely just added this to my list of things to visit the next time I’m in Paris 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    What a beautiful place

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Beautiful colours! The place looks lovely

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I HAVE to go to Paris someday.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Beautiful photos!!!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Lovely post. We have been there, but it was in summer and our pics are not nearly as lovely.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    These are great photos! Absolutely love them!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I will definitely have to check it out next time I am in Paris. Looks great.

  • Reply
    Eduardo Mamcasz
    November 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Beautiful pictures. And, for me, rememberances from last week ago in Paris. Around 14 Arrondissement, of Lost Generation (Hemingway, Miller, Fitzgeral, Stein, etc). Thanks

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Lovely blog. Have you seen ‘Midnight Paris’ (the movie)? You should, it captures the spirit of Paris very well.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 3, 2011 at 11:36 pm

      Thanks. No, I’ve not seen it yet – I’ve heard that it’s very atmospheric though so will be a good one to look out when I’m back home and missing Paris!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 12:23 am

    What a great post about a place I knew nothing about. I’m sorry I missed it on my trip to Paris last month but will visit next time.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I need to win the lottery so I can go to Paris and see the Promenade Plantee. Thank you for sharing some wonderful pictures.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Those Parisians get a lot of things right. Great city planning idea–a beautiful and peaceful park.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Now I love Paris more! Couldn’t wait to set my feet on these gorgeous place! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Oh I love these pictures! I feel like I am there, such a gift to see the fall colors of the Paris park in your photos. Thank you so much. You gave me such a special gift tonight!!!!!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Wonderful idea! With a little creativity… you can turn around almost anything! It became not only useful, but also enjoyable!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 3:16 am

    How wonderful. I love seeing old areas being rejuvenated for public use as parkland. It seems to make it all worthwhile.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 3:31 am

    I miss Paris!!! Thank you for those lovely pics…ah, Paris…once you go, it just never leaves you.

  • Reply
    Tyas Effendi
    November 4, 2011 at 2:58 am

    I knew that Paris is a magnificent town, but I never think that this town is that magnificent! Ow, love all the pictures! ;D

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Lovely! I look forward to enjoying this secret garden next summer.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Martha Stewart posted on her blog how great the New York HIgh Line looked when it first opened. I’d love to see both, Paris and New York.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I love Paris, would love to go back someday! ‘Midnight in Paris’ was such a teaser of a movie for the truly wonderful city of lights and romance

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 6:44 am

    all I want to say is I wish I could see it first hand…… 🙂

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Beautiful. I’d love

  • Reply
    Azhar Shahani
    November 4, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Very niceful blog…wonderful pics 🙂

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Paris is one of my bucket list in this world..wish i could discover more about this place..thanks Lucy for sharing this amazing photos of Paris

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Have you seen the film ‘Before Sunset’ from 2004? Where Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) fall in love with Paris as a backdrop. It’s such a good film, due to very realistic dialogue, and of course the stunning scenes of Paris in the background. I believe the two walk through this very same place you are describing in your post.
    Either way, it is definitely a must go for next time I’m in Paris. Looking forwards to it!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for this photo essay. It’s great to how older structures can be rehabilitated in creative ways.

    People where I live (Vancouver, Canada) are currently discussing the future off a highway viaduct (not nearly as elegant as this one Paris) if and/or when it is decommisioned. I hope we have the same level of ingenuity in positively changing one of our blighted urban spaces.

  • Reply
    be awake
    November 4, 2011 at 8:54 am

    wow, I didn’t know there is such place in paris. Looks beautiful for a walk 🙂

  • Reply
    Dany BRAND
    November 4, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Bravo pour cet article. Habitant pas trés loin de cette promenade et la fréquentant souvent, je trouves les photos magnifiques et le compte-rendu parfait.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Awesome !
    I live only 15km away from Paris and never paid attention to this part of the capital.
    Sometimes we don’t see what is just in front of us.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I cannot wait to visit this this weekend! Love your blog – am now following! Thanks so much for posting this.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 4, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Thanks – and fingers crossed you get some nice weather this weekend!

  • Reply
    Spiritual Healing
    November 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    wow nice pictures I liked all of them

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Wonderful article and beautiful photos! I’m visiting Paris in a couple of months and I’m sure to make a beeline there! 😉

  • Reply
    Meg Baco
    November 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Wonderful post, I am headed to Highline this weekend! I’m researching the reuse of elevated infrastructure for an upcoming conference. Thanks for this post for some history + perspective!

  • Reply
    Online Movies Database
    November 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    great photos…i have visited Paris more than twice and i have to say that it`s tremendously inspiring. Your article remind me of those moments…


  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    fabulous place to visit, would love to go there

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Great photos!! I love all the colors and patterns!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    thanks for this awesome reminder. Ive been living nearby for almost a year now and still havent made it there! I will now, while all the leaves are still on the trees!

  • Reply
    PCC Advantage
    November 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    First of all, your photos are just beautiful! Secondly, thank you for bringing more awareness of the Promenade Plantée! So many people do not know about it and NYC keeps getting all kinds of credit for High Line, even though it’s not an original idea… 😉

    Great job and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks for this post–I learned something new about Paris, and congratulations on being freshly pressed! I just went to High Line Park in NYC last weekend and loved it, but I never knew about this park. Now I have one more reason to visit Paris again!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Awesome. I’ve been posting a series of photo safaris based on my trip through Europe last month. I missed this little gem while I was in Paris.



  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Interesting post! I had no idea about this “Paris Highline” and that the story is similar to that of NYC’s Highline!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Beautiful pics! I love the first one. Next time l want to go there.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Hi, I am really taken by this high level park, though the studios and shops are also as appealing. How feasible is it to walk the park in one direction and back by street level. It sounds loads of fun!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      November 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      Hi, the most picturesque part of the route is the raised bit above the viaduct, and that’s about 1.5 km long. So it would be no problem to walk along this raised section which runs as far as the Jardin de Reuilly, then walk back the way you came but at ground level to check out the shops!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Don’t you just love Paris in the fall? Love the photography and the blog. Keep it up!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I wish to see Paris before this year is over so thanks for sharing something beautiful that I must see when I go there

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you for this great information, great to find a place like that in the city, that otherwise I would never have known about.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous. Hidden places are always a work of art! When (and if) I make a trip to Paris, I’ll definitely have to check out this beautiful place.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Great post and pics! Sorry I missed this on my recent trip. Congrats on freshly pressed!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Ooh I defininately need to check this out whenever I go back to Paris. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2011 at 10:09 am

    hey very nice place to visit all pictures are awesome

  • Reply
    Harlow London Stanley
    November 6, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Looks awesome. When I finally get to Paris I must check this out

  • Reply
    November 7, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I like you blog layout and all pics you take in this post.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I really love the colors of the trees in the Fall (:

  • Reply
    marcel lux
    November 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    As Gerard stated earlier, you can find something similar in New York City. If you want to discover the High Line, take your time and have a coffee afterwards.

  • Reply
    November 8, 2011 at 1:11 am

    great post!! loved it

  • Reply
    November 8, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Wow, I live in NYC and I am jealous of Paris! Looking better than NYC! -Mark

  • Reply
    November 13, 2011 at 6:07 am

    We were there in the spring, love your fall colors.

  • Reply
    Deliquency Report
    November 14, 2011 at 8:39 am

    This makes me want to go back to Paris so badly! I will check this out next time I go!

    Au Revoir!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 4:11 am

    I LOVE this place so much! I visited the Promenade Plantee before I heard anything about the Highline Park – understanding that it was the inspiration is what made me so excited for the Highline.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    What a lovely series of photos, Lucy. Viaduc des Arts is now on my list of places to visit next time I go to France.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Wonderful! Thanks for leading me to this post Lucy. Putting this on my list for next year 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      July 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Glad to introduce you too it, it’s well worth a visit. I’ve been to Paris quite a few times now so am enjoying finding the more unusual spots now I’ve done the famous ones!

      • Madhu
        July 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

        Have been before, but am planning to return next year with my daughter for an all girls trip 🙂

      • Lucy Dodsworth
        July 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        That sounds lovely. I’m heading back out next month for a few days so will see what else I can find!

  • Reply
    Cassie | Ever In Transit
    January 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    These are great photos, Lucy! I think I prefer the look of the promenade in autumn to the spring photos I have there wasn’t much color up there (though the Jardin de Reuilly with it’s spring flowers was gorgeous!) Thanks for sharing these!

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