How would you like to discover Paris’ 12tharrondissement from a different angle i.e. starting 10 meters above ground? The “promenade plantée” also known as “Coulée verte René-Dumont” (or “Coulée verte” for short) forms a 4.5 km green belt that will take you from the Place de la Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes in an hour to hour-and-a-half walk. The first chunk of this walk begins behind the Bastille Opera House and runs towards the lusciously green Jardin de Reuilly above the avenue de Daumesnil on the Viaduc des arts.
The itinerary follows the former railway line linking the Bastille station (which was demolished to build the opera) to La Varenne-Saint-Maur from 1853 to 1969. As a matter of fact, the Jardin de Reuilly still has its former railway station! Work started in 1988 to rehabilitate the old railway infrastructure and ended in 1993, resulting in a beautiful green pathway above the 71 arcades of the viaduct that now houses over 50 art shops.
The Viaduc des Arts is situated close by to the Gare de Lyon so if you happen to have a bit of time on your hands before catching a train there or if you are feeling in need of a good dose of fresh air after a long journey, why not make the most of it and discover Paris from above (and below through the tunnels and trenches on the way!).