We love Paris … even in the summer when it sizzles! This time of year, the 7th arrondissement is the perfect spot for a summer stroll thanks to its picturesque parks and lovely gardens squares. Oliver Gee of The Earful Tower is back to continue his series on the best of the 7th arrondissment, this time the showcasing the most charming gardens of the 7th arrondissement. Oliver and his lovely wife Lina of Parisian Postcards know and love the 7th as much as we do, so it's a pleasure to have Oliver return to the Paris Perfect Blog to share more about one of our favorite neighborhoods.
Now over to you, Oliver!
1. The Champ de Mars
The seventh district is an enormous neighborhood, dominated by two big parks. Let's begin with those two, then I'll recommend five more that are much smaller, but also worth a visit. Let’s do it! The Champ de Mars is an enormous grassy area that was once used as a military training area for the soldiers at the nearby Ecole Militaire. But nowadays you’ll find young Parisians having picnics and wide-eyed tourists taking photos of the looming Eiffel Tower. If you want to escape the crowds, the smaller “side gardens” are often quite empty and perfect for spending a few hours in the sun. If you’re there in the near future, you can also check out the Grand Palais Ephemere, which will host exhibitions from 2021 to 2024 while the actual Grand Palais gets a facelift.
Location: Stretches out between the Eiffel Tower and Ecole Militaire
2. The Esplanade des Invalides
This is another huge park, stretching from the Seine river to the Invalides. There’s a lot less on offer compared to the nearby Champ de Mars, but it still has a lot of character. The lawns aren’t hugely exciting, and are often full of teenagers having picnics, but you can find amateur roller hockey games to the northern corner and pétanque games under the trees. Just be warned, if you’re going to get hit in the head with a rogue frisbee in Paris, it’s likely to be here.
Location: Between Les Invalides and Pont Alexandre III
3. Rodin’s garden
You’ll have to pay to enter the Rodin Museum, but it’s worth every last centime. The gardens at Rodin’s old studio are magnificent, and filled with examples of his work. Of course, you should also go inside the fantastic Hôtel Biron to see the bulk of Rodin’s work. But the grand garden, which is 7 acres in size, is complete with roses, a relaxation area, and you can even find Rodin’s sculpture of The Thinker. You can tour the garden via two thematic walks, which, as the museum itself puts it, includes “plants thriving amidst the rockery in the Garden of Orpheus,” and on the other side, “omnipresent water in the Garden of Springs.”
Address: 77 Rue de Varenne, 75007
4. Square Santiago du Chili
This is a lovely little corner park near the Invalides entrance. If you’re there in the spring or summer, you’ll see it’s overflowing with perfectly manicured flowers and tidy lawns. Grab a bench and read a book. Can I recommend something by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry? The Little Prince author has his own statue in the middle of the park, and lived not too far away on the other side of the Invalides.
Address: Square Santiago de Chili, 75007
5. Square Boucicaut
Here’s the perfect place to relax after shopping at the nearby Bon Marché. What I like about this park is that it is literally surrounded by achingly beautiful Haussmannian buildings. No matter where you sit in the park, any photo you take will have a wonderful background. Bonus points if you can visit while the cherry blossoms are in season. And when you’re done, I recommend popping across the road to the recently renovated Hôtel Lutetia for a drink in the incredible bar.
Address: 1 Rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris
6. Square Roger-Stéphane
This park is at the edge of the 7th arrondissement and quite hard to find. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that you would be unlikely to find it by accident. But when you make it you’ll be rewarded, it’s an oasis of beauty – especially if you’re there in spring or summer where you’ll find Japanese lilacs, rhododendrons, magnolias, periwinkles, honeysuckle and heather.
Address: 7 Rue Juliette Récamier, 75007
7. Le Jardin de Catherine Labouré
This charming park is named after Catherine Labouré, a nun who died a Saint after she was visited by the Virgin Mary. You can find the park close to the fantastic Coutume cafe on rue de Babylone. It’s surprisingly big and quite well hidden behind an imposing wall, but make the effort because this park is special. It used to be part of a nearby convent but has been open to the public since the late 70s, and features grapevines and romantic corners for a quiet moment with a loved one. Or a takeaway coffee, perhaps.
Address: 29 Rue de Babylone, 75007
There you have it — the best parks of the 7th, at least according to Oliver. If you’re looking for more inspired excursions through Paris, check out these sensational Paris walks. Stay tuned for more in this series showcasing the best of the 7th arrondissement.
The Earful Tower is a weekly podcast with guests ranging from tour guides to TV presenters, cooks to comedians, and authors to ambassadors. If you want more of The Earful Tower, subscribe to his podcast on your phone and check out the links below!