Green Paris

Green Paris © Apur - image proche infrarouge, MNE, MNT - Aérodata 2015

Although Paris was built on agricultural and forest land, integrating a dense network of market-garden plots into its urban fabric very early on which only disappeared after 1900, the role of nature in public space is more recent. Until the 18th century, gardens and woods were private. The first public Parisian garden opened its gates in 1848, it was what is now Square Jean XXIII, lying just behind Notre-Dame.   

The network of promenades, initiated during the reign fo Henri IV (1553-1610) when the first planted avenues and courtyards were established, were gradually reinforced and from 1833, Rambuteau then Haussmann, adhering to hygiene theories, brought in trees lining public space as a widespread feature. At the time alignments of trees were recognised as a technique for stabilising and cleansing roadways, as well as for their aesthetic and climatic value.  In the 1930s, modern urbanism emphasised the importance of nature in everyday life, accompanying the changes in society initiated by the beginning of paid holidays in 1936 and the invention of leisure for all. Gardens became “green spaces” and places for daily recreational activities.
Beyond its nourishing and pleasurable role, nature in the capital has always played an essential role in public health. 

Today almost 31% of the Parisian territory is greened.
The most visible part of this vegetation is made up of 730 public parks and gardens, which represent about 520 ha. Added to this are 1,840 ha of woods at Boulogne and Vincennes and the 113 ha of Parisian cemetery landscapes. These green spaces, which are in great demand by Parisians, are completed by 30 km of the Seine embankments and 650 km of roads planted with 106,000 trees.

In addition to these accessible natural spaces, there are 600 ha of private gardens, 44 ha of roadside embankments alongside the Boulevard Périphérique ring road, and 31 ha of urban agriculture, 5 ha of community gardens, 50 ha of roof gardens and 30 ha of vegetalised/greened walls.
The parks and gardens and large landscaped areas, mainly produced through the works of Haussmann and Alphand, that were created to embellish and cleanse Paris under the Second Empire, form a preserved legacy and are enhanced by urban projects as for example parks like La Villette, André Citroën, Bercy, Martin Luther King, Jardin d’Éole…

This nature, in its various forms, participates in the Parisian landscape and provides a number of essential services to the quality of life by contributing to climatic cooling, rain water management, fixing fine particles and maintaining biodiversity.
In 2020 nature in Paris is at the same time food orientated, environmental, pleasurable and beautiful. It is a public facility of the 21st century.

With the current climatic issues, the necessity to preserve biodiversity and citizens’ need for nature, reinforcing the place of nature in the city is an essential issue for rendering Paris a more welcoming city. This is already being put into action through initiatives that favour the greening of public space, streets and squares and which aim to create, by 2026, 30 more hectares of parks and gardens that are planned in urban projects with the opening of the Chapelle Charbon Park, Bercy-Charenton, the transformation of the Heliport - by accompanying citizen initiatives and participative greening.


Documents to download

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    Green Paris - High resolution

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    Green Paris - Low resolution

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