There’s something extra enchanting about industrial spaces being recovered by nature’s always reaching tendrils, and the Promenade Plantée in Paris owns this enchantment fully.
Also called the Coulée verte (green course) the Promenade Plantée starts at the Opéra Bastille, and goes on for over two miles following what was once part of the old Vincennes railway line. Starting in 1859, the railway linked the Bastille station to Verneuil-l’Étang, but became defunct by 1969. In the 1980s, the forgotten area got a makeover, the train station came down and the opera went up, but what to do with the railway itself? Landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux turned it into a lovely parkway that was opened in 1993 that established and flourished as the storefronts and neighborhood around it did the same.
Along the former railway line is a wide, tree-lined path with both narrow and wide spaces, some covered, some open. Rising up over the city, open spaces give way to gorgeous views, while enclosed stretches have shops nestled in the arches that were once part of the rail system. Along the path lies the Jardin de Reuilly, the square Charles-Péguy, the square Hector-Malot, and the Jardin de la gare de Reuilly, that features a preserved railway station giving homage to what once was.
At the rue du Sahel, the parkway splits. In one direction, the square Charles-Péguy, which continues on what used to be the path of a branch line once linking to the Petite Ceinture railway–the other leads to a graceful spiral starcase spiraling down to the boulevard Périphérique beltway.