So Many Parks . . .
The urban transformation of Paris during the second half of the 19th century was visionary and egalitarian in its treatment of parks. Napoleon III directed green spaces to be incorporated into every neighbourhood of Paris, even as the city expanded to twice its size due to the annexation of suburbs:
Do not miss an opportunity to build, in all the arrondissements of Paris, the greatest possible number of squares to offer Parisians, as has been done in London, places for relaxation and recreation for all families and all children, rich and poor.Haussmann describing the instructions of Napoleon III on creating parks
The Littlest Park in Paris: Jardin Alice Saunier-Seïté
Inevitably, Paris has its smallest public park. It features its own little insect hotel.
Square d’Alleray-Labrouste-Saint Amand
Visiting this little park with the long name feels like entering a public living space within the city of Paris. The al fresco apartment offers a threshold, rooms, doorways, furniture, plumbing, and windows through which one can peer, becoming a voyeur within the rooms of the public apartment.
The interior spaces of Square d’Alleray-Labrouste-Saint Amand recall Riéti’s description of street art as democratic at heart, “paintings in the background of this common apartment, made for everyone, for anyone.” If the city is for Riéti a “common apartment,” this park invites a visit to a home whose rooms are delimited but not private. One strolls through both a living room and a commons.
Jardin Juan Miró
Paris’ avant-garde park.
Below, the path in the form of train tracks evokes Petite Ceinture, the defunct railway that encircles Paris. That railway is now being developed as a series of parks.
Jardin de la Dalle d’Ivry
The amphitheatre with potted-plant spectators.
Place de Furstemberg
Lovely, tranquil Place de Furstemberg is surrounded by 18th-century buildings, including the last residence of Eugène Delacroix (now a museum dedicated to the painter’s life and work).
The place is home to four pawlonia trees with big floppy leaves in the shape of hearts.
Square Henri Galli
Below: the base of one of the eight towers of the Bastille, the fortress-prison destroyed during the French Revolution
About a century later, the tower was rediscovered and excavated during the construction of a metro line. The tower’s base now resides in nearby Square Henri Galli, where it offers a secluded spot for youth to chill.
Parks for Play
Jardin d’Immeuble Choisy-Caillaux
Square des Chamaillards
Léon Cladel Skateboard Park
Next: So Many More Parks . . .