From behind the Opéra Bastille to Vincennes runs one of my favourite features in Paris. The Coulée Verte was the first elevated park in the world, and inspired the much-loved High Line in New York City, its junior by 16 years.
This green carpet, lined with a variety of trees and flowers traces 4.7km through the 12e arrondissement and was constructed along the path of the Vincennes railway line.
I like to hop on to walk home from Bastille or the Marché d’Aligre, but most often to jog to Vincennes and back.
As a rambler, depending on the time of day, the concentration of Paris’ jogging population can pose a challenge, but the path is wide and weaves through fountains, ponds, parks and under arch trellises.
The first stretch from Bastille to place du Colonel Bourgoin is built upon pre-existing, restored viaducts that now house high-end showrooms, boutiques, craftsmen’s workshops and provides beautiful views and plenty of secluded benches. Look out south-west when you’re next to the place du Colonel Bourgoin – the facade of the police station is topped with 13 sculptures of Michelangelo’s ‘Dying Slave’.
The next section boasts a bridge over the Jardin de Reuilly, a peaceful park, water fountains for joggers and an impressive planted wall reaching down to the Mairie (town hall) of the 12th arrondissement.
Beyond this, it opens into tunnels with water features and outdoor gyms – think pull-up bars and manual cross-trainers dotted throughout the natural track.