Promenade Plantée

Park in Bastille & Eastern Paris
Credit: Patrick Donovan
Credit: Patrick Donovan

The disused 19th-century Vincennes railway viaduct was reborn in 1993 as the world's first elevated park, planted with a fragrant profusion of cherry trees, maples, rose trellises, bamboo corridors and lavender. Three storeys above ground, it provides a unique aerial vantage point on the city. Along the first, northwestern section, above av Daumesnil, art-gallery workshops beneath the arches form the Viaduc des Arts. Staircases provide access (lifts here invariably don't work).

Officially the Coulée Verte René-Dumont, it's better known as the Promenade Plantée. Waking southeast, look out for the spectacular art deco–style police station at the start of rue de Rambouillet, which was built in 1991 and is topped with a dozen huge, identical telamones (male figures used as pillars) based on Michelangelo's Dying Slave.

The viaduct later drops back to street level at Jardin de Reuilly (1.5km); it’s possible to follow it all the way (4.5km) to the Bois de Vincennes. This latter section can also be done on a bike or in-line skates. A 1.7km section of the former Petite Ceinture, the steam railway line that encircled central Paris from the late 19th century until the line closed to passenger trains in 1934 and freight trains in the early 1990s, intersects the promenade 200m north of square Charles Péguy.