If you want to immerse yourself for a few hours in an immense, neat park a stone's throw from the centre of Paris, you can visit the Bois de Boulogne, perhaps by bicycle.
Many people don’t know that on the outskirts of Paris lies a veritable green lung of 865 hectares, the Bois de Boulogne.
It is what remains today of the old Foret du Rouvre, replaced and reworked by the architect Haussmann (creator of the grand boulevards) to recreate the Parisian version of Hyde Park in London.
The Baron had 400,000 trees planted there for about 125 hectares of forest. Today, it is a retreat for Parisians at weekends thanks to its 15 km of cycle paths and 28 km of bridle paths.
It is a great alternative for an afternoon outdoors in the green: here you can go cycling, picnicking, horseback riding or boating.
Things to do
One of the most fun things to do in fine weather is to rent a bicycle and take a tour of the park. They can be rented at the park entrances via Velib or directly inside.
At the Jardin d’Acclimatation, it is possible to go on boat trips, ride a pony, watch a puppet show or play without limits: ideal for families with children, it includes an adventure park and a zoo.
Garden and flower lovers can visit the Parc de Gabatelle, wanted by Marie-Antoinette for a bet with Count D’Artois, which blooms according to the seasons with magnificent explosions of irises, roses or water lilies. There are in fact more than 10,000 roses of over a thousand different species.
To admire tropical plants, on the other hand, one must go to the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, which dates back to 1898.
The Pré Catelan is a park within a park that houses the capital’s largest beech trees and includes the Jardin Shakespeare where plants and flowers mentioned in the works of the great playwright are cultivated.
For a rowing boat ride, you can go to Lac Inférieur, one of many in the park.
Remember not to linger in the evening hours around the Etang des Reservoirs and along Allée de Longchamps: this is where the area’s prostitutes are concentrated.
Bois de Boulogne, dove dormire in zona
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