Skip the tourist attractions in Paris and promenade yourself down the green Coulée verte René-Dumont, the original and first-ever built high line.
Being from New York, we all know about the High Line down in Chelsea. But did you know, that the first-ever high line was actually built in Paris back in 1993? Coulée verte René-Dumont, also known as the Promenade Plantée, is not only the first-ever built high line, but it’s also gorgeous. This 3 mile (4.7 km) promenade sits atop of the former tracks of the Vincennes railway and resides in the 12th arrondissement, from Bastille all the way down to the Bois de Vincennes.
Coulée verte means the Green Flow.
Coulée verte René-Dumont was built on top of the former railway that hadn’t been used since 1969. The promenade is full of nature, plants, fountains, walking paths, bicycle paths, skyline views, and more. A quick walk from Place des Vosges and we found ourselves at the entrance of Coulée verte René-Dumont at the Viaduct des Arts near Bastille. Before you climb the stairs, take a look at the restored shops under the old railway. They’ve been turned into ateliers, cafés, galleries, and workshops that are dedicated to Arts & Crafts. Climb the stairs that are secretly hidden on the side and you’ll find yourself in a secret garden. Coulée verte René-Dumont is a haven hovering above the city of Paris.
The Promenade Plantée begins with leafy green tunnels and flora taking over the elevated railway. You walk under tunnels of ivy, fountains, tree-lined paths, and parks. It’s broken up every now and then by bridges that offer rooftop views of the Parisian skyline. From here you can get a close look at the Beaux-Arts buildings and balconies of modern apartments. You occasionally cut through buildings which is something I found super fascinating. It looked like someone made a building and sliced it in half, just like they would a piece of cake, leaving it bare on the inside as you walked directly through it.
We stopped right before Jardin de Reuilly, we didn’t want to keep walking down given the length of the trail. We wanted to explore some of this lesser known 12th arrondissement. But if you continue you’ll walk on a wobbly cable foot suspension bridge over Parisians picnicking and enjoying Jardin de Reuilly, followed by a pedestrian avenue lined with trees, and ending with tunnels that lead you to La Petite Ceinture, or little belt railway, that was started in 1852 and decommissioned in the 1960s.
We got off right after the split building at Rue de Rambouillet. We found ourselves in front of a building that didn’t look like much. A bouncer was outside a we saw a few young people show I.D.s and walk-in. It looked like a school from the outside, but being my usual curious self, I decided to follow them and take a look. It turned out to be a hip, hang out spot for food, drinks, and games, called Ground Control. Following a walk on Paris’ green high line, this was the perfect spot to be for a well-deserved treat.
Coulée verte René-Dumont or Promenade Plantée opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:30AM – 8:30PM
Weekends: 8:30AM – 8:30PM
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