You already know that Paris is the city of Food, wine, and the Can-Can, but did you also know that Paris is on its way to being eco-friendly, urban heaven? With green rooftops, Made in Paris honey bees, more bike lanes, car-free days, and communal gardens, Paris is edging its way to the top of the environmentally-conscious capitals.
It’s summer in the city and the arrival of August sees the majority of Parisians departing for greener pastures and seasides. While travelers to Paris will certainly have a more urban experience, there’s no reason their visit to the city can’t include a little nature. Thanks to the over 100 community gardens in Paris (full list here), it’s easy to find a bit of green near you while you visit the capital. So while you’re enjoying farm-fresh tomatoes in your kitchen or at a local restaurant, rest assured that there are also places in Paris where you can watch this favorite summer delicacy ripen on the vine.
Thanks to an initiative to renovate the petite ceinture, an abandoned commuter railway that circles the city, many areas on the outskirts of Paris are being transformed into parks, gardens, and perfect spots for nature walks. This growing project, which promises to expand and take over even more surface by 2020, provides Parisians with an open space to enjoy the unlikely flora and fauna of an otherwise urban environment. Some spots also include community gardens, where members can get their hands dirty and grow their own flowers, fruits, and veggies.
One of our favorite petite ceinture community gardens is Les Jardins du Ruisseau, which celebrated its 20thbirthday last year. Complete with a chicken coop and plenty of lounge chairs for summertime chilling out the garden, which is open to the public during special events, is an oasis in the city committed to promoting biodiversity and bringing the community together.
The Jardin de l’Aqueduc in the 14tharrondissement counts over 100 families, 2 nursery schools, 1 hospital, and 7 non-profit associations among its members. The urban garden is open for visits during the week but if you want a plot get in line- the waitlist is long and it can take up to two years to get a spot of this coveted land!
Several other pocket parks and gardens are spotted across the city, popping up when you least expect them! Le Potager de la Lune in the 2ndarrondissement is a small and central community garden that organizes several events and parties throughout the year.
In the 3rdarrondissement check out Le Potager des Oiseaux, where city dwellers with green thumbs have been planting seeds since 2004. Visit the garden on weekend afternoons from 11-13h- a perfect stop after stopping for lunch or shopping at the nearby Marché des Enfants Rouge. Le Nid du 12 in the 12tharrondissement welcomes local residents as well as people in need through its community outreach program, visitors can discover the garden during its opening hours.
While the odd guerrilla gardening project and squatted space still exist in parts of Paris, most of the city’s community gardens participate in the city-wide Charte Main Verte which stipulates that member gardens agree to several terms of agreement, including having a certain number of hours that the garden is open to the public, organizing at least one public event per year, using collective approaches to the functioning of the garden, and committing to an ecologically friendly approach to gardening (no pesticides or chemical products, composting, recuperating rainwater, etc.)
Along with the city’s gardens, Paris is engaged in several other green initiatives. For those interested in learning more about urban gardening there’s the Maison du Jardinage, which hosts regular events on the theme of sustainable agriculture and container gardening- from balcony boxes to raised bed gardens. Engaged urban gardeners will also be excited to know that the city is increasingly expanding its zero waste campaign, one way they are doing so is by encouraging composting by organizing regular giveaways of apartment-friendly compost kits.
So what’s your community doing to bring the green, back to your city? Let us know in the comments.
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