Exploring Paris' Green Revolution: From Coulée Verte to La Petite Ceinture

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 15, 2024 18:30 PMNews
White high line building under blue sky in Paris
White high line building under blue sky in Paris. Source: unsplash

Paris is celebrated for its iconic monuments and café culture, but less known are its innovative green spaces, like the Coulée Verte René-Dumont. This pioneering elevated urban park, which inspired New York City's famous High Line, stretches over three miles from the Opéra Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes, offering a unique blend of history, nature, and urban beauty.

A Trailblazer in Urban Green Spaces

The Coulée Verte, originally a defunct railway line, was transformed in the late 1980s into a vibrant elevated park. Designed by landscaper Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux, it snakes through the 12th arrondissement, providing a peaceful escape from city life below. As visitors wander the pathway, they're treated to lush plantings of cherry trees, maples, and bamboo, juxtaposed with the architectural grandeur of Haussmann buildings.

A Green Promise for the Future

Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s vision to make Paris one of Europe's greenest capitals is evident not just in the Coulée Verte but in ambitious projects like the planting of 170,000 trees by 2026. Plans for extensive urban forests and living rooftops aim to cover half of the city’s area with greenery by 2030, redefining urban living.

La Petite Ceinture: A Hidden Gem

After exploring the Coulée Verte, the journey continues to La Petite Ceinture, an abandoned railway that circles the city. While only parts of this 'Little Belt' are accessible to the public due to safety reasons, it represents a critical piece of Parisian history and biodiversity. The former railway stations and tracks are slowly being reclaimed by nature, creating a sanctuary for urban wildlife and a canvas for street artists.

Cultural and Environmental Renaissance

La Recyclerie, a former train station now an industrial café and community space, exemplifies the city's repurposing efforts. Here, Parisians gather to enjoy craft fairs and organic markets amidst the backdrop of vintage railway infrastructure. This spot highlights the potential of La Petite Ceinture to become a continuous green belt, providing invaluable community space amidst the urban sprawl.

Paris Reimagined

Walking the Coulée Verte and exploring La Petite Ceinture offers more than just a leisurely stroll; it represents a deeper shift towards sustainable urban planning and community integration. These green corridors serve as vital lungs for the city, offering both a refuge from urban intensity and a testament to Paris’s resilience and innovation in urban design.

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