Urban Greenery on the Promenade Plantee

So Judy and I are at a B&B in Nazelles-Negron, a small town in the Loire Valley. Tomorrow we take the train to Paris, then switch to another train that takes us under the English Channel and on to London. I feel like I have already seen so much that I will never have to post about my own garden again. For now, I’m going to squeeze out some time to write about the promenade plantee.

Place de la Bastille.
Monument to the 1830 Revolution at the Place de la Bastille.

Before the High Line in New York City, there was the promenade plantee in Paris. Opened in 1990, the promenade is built along almost three miles of abandoned railroad track in the heart of the right bank, starting near the Place de la Bastille. There is no Bastille at the Place de la Bastille, by the way, because it was torn down during the Revolution of 1789. There is, however, a nice monument to the Revolution of 1830.

Homeless in Paris
Encampment of the homeless near the promenade plantee. I wonder where they got the tents.

Walking to the entrance of the promenade, Judy and I passed what seemed to be a small tent encampment of homeless people. The homeless are much in evidence in Paris (no more so than in Chicago, though). I am not sure if this reflects a libertarian attitude towards the mentally ill, a failure of French housing policy, or some of each. In Chicago, police try to minimize the presence of the homeless in the showcase areas, and a scene like the one above would not be tolerated.

Around the corner here, under the old train viaduct, are the stairs to the promenade.

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So, a few observations on the promenade plantee, though I should note that Judy and I only walked about half its length, then back again. Like the High Line, the promenade plantee is part of the urban scene rather than a refuge from it. It is a fine platform for up close observation of the streets and buildings of the Right Bank.

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Promenade Plantee
View from the promenade.
Promenade Plantee
The windows of upper story apartments look right onto the promenade.

Also, this does seem to be a successful urban green space that attracts people of all ages for exercise, relaxation, reading, eating lunch, or canoodling.

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There are lovely scented roses planted at fairly regular intervals.

Promenade Plantee

Promenade Plantee

Arches planted with hardy kiwi (Actinidia quinquefolia) and other vines are also a regular feature.

Promenade Plantee

Also some nice stands of bamboo.

Promenade Plantee

On the less positive side of the ledger, I would say that the promenade plantee uses a less diverse plant palette than the High Line in New York. The High Line has far more perennial flowers and grasses, whereas the Promenade is dominated by shrubs and small trees.

Promenade Plantee

Also, the plantings on the promenade are not as well maintained as those of other parks we’ve seen in Paris. A fair amount of weeding and pruning of vines was left undone. Not sure why that would be.

Promenade plantee
Is somebody going to pull out all this Deadly Nightshade? I would have, but Judy restrained me.

When we finished our walk on the promenade, Judy and I had dinner at a restaurant serving regional cuisine from southwestern France. (The best thing we had: home made prune ice cream with Armagnac.) Afterwards, we strolled back across the Seine to our hotel on the Left Bank.

Paris
View of the Seine shortly after sunset.

I’ll try to do another post while I’m on vacation, but I won’t be able to respond to comments or comment on other blogs until I return. In the meantime, keep well.

22 Comments on “Urban Greenery on the Promenade Plantee

  1. You are too funny. We still want to hear about your garden. But indeed your pictures are very gorgeous and intriguing. You are obviously having a blast. I am happy for the two of you. Hope you have the time of your life and then some. 🙂

  2. Well, you two lucky dogs! Hope you’re having plenty of fun and good food in Paris, and that you enjoy your days in England just as much.

  3. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. Savor it and don’t worry about blogging. Something very French about the colorful homeless tents…

  4. Still a very lovely urban space to stroll! Your shots are stunning and your photo of the Seine is amazing!!!! Enjoy your Trip!!!

  5. Lovely, lovely! I’m hoping to make a trip to Paris and London in the next year, and I’m going to put the promenade plantee on my list of places to see. A gardener just can’t resist pulling weeds:) Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  6. What a great ‘snoop’ around Paris you’ve provided us with! I bet High Line is far cooler for sure but never the less this public space does look nice. I like the bamboo! Anyway as for your trip over here to the UK I really hope you enjoy Great Dixter! I’m curios to know what’s happening there at this time of year! I hope you’ll love Sissinghurst too. It’s sunny here today so fingers crossed the weather holds out for you 🙂 I was going to post my spring photos from Sissinghurst for you but since you’re so close to going I actually don’t want to spoil it for you! So I’ll wait until after you’ve been and it will be nice to see how the garden has changed over the last few months. Have fun and safe journey!

  7. What an interesting post Jason. I loved the pics and had to smile at the thought of you pulling up deadly nightshade….respect!

    I am always saddened to see the homeless huddled together, , it seems to be the same the world over.

    Have a fab time…..I hope you enjoy England, shame you won’t get to see Liverpool….my city.xxxx

  8. Ah you lucky person! What a great view you’ve given us of the Promenade Plantee. I hope you are having the time of your lives there! I’ve never been to Europe and would just about keel over to see England. Take lots of pics if you get to Kew!

  9. How glorious that you’re on vacation! Looking forward to hearing all about it when you return! I hope the rest of your time away is fabulous!

  10. Wow, this lovely! I’m a sucker for arches of any kind and those are great. Interesting about the choice of plantings, do you think ornamental grasses are just not “the thing” there as they are here? Surprising about the homeless tents lined up on the sidewalk, I agree we wouldn’t see that here. You’d have to look under the bridges. Beautiful post, enjoy the rest of your travels!

  11. Enjoy! We’ll be heading to London later this fall–so I’ll have to ask you all about it before we leave. Thanks for sharing some highlights from your trip. Lovely!

  12. I agree with your comments about the High Line and the Prom, I saw the Prom last autumn and thought it rather boring, it looks better as you show it, but I saw the High Line in January when everything was dead, but it still looked better! Can you email when you’re going to Sissinghurst as I’m going too and it would be fun to meet you.

    • We are planning tentatively to be there Thursday afternoon, but we are relying on an old friend who lives nearby for transportation so plans are still a bit fuzzy. It would be great to meet you, we can stay in touch through my gmail account listed on the About page.

  13. It looks lovely! I bet you were itching to do a bit of weeding. Enjoy the rest of your trip. In England, we regard it as a compliment when visitors weed our gardens 😉 and with the recent rain on warm soil, there will be plenty of weeds! So don’t be shy! Help yourself!

  14. OMG, so jealous right now. walking back to your Paris hotel under the city lights… what a holiday. I’ve never heard of this promenade but I’m noting it as one more thing I would love about Paris.

  15. So much to say! In college, I was fortunate enough to study abroad and live in Paris for a year. And yet I had absolutely no idea this Promenade and I lived only 15 minutes from la Bastille. I know the viaduct it starts on but never ever thought you could go up there, nor did I see people up there. I feel cheated!

    Also, those tents must be recent (in the past 5 years recent). The homeless there were always visible, but never like that, and even on my return trips it wasn’t that bad.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • You are indeed lucky to have spent a whole year in Paris. I would love to do that. As for the homeless, what struck me was that there didn’t seem to be an effort to keep them out of sight, which is fine by me, but very unlike what I have seen in US cities.

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