Promenade plantée in Paris

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The Promenade plantée or the Coulée verte is a narrow, 4.7 km (2.9 mi) parkway in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, France.


The Promenade plantée is a extensive green belt that follows the old Vincennes railway line. Beginning just east of the Opéra Bastille with the elevated Viaduc des Arts, it follows a 4.7 km (2.9 mi) path eastward that ends at a spiral staircase leading to the boulevard Périphérique beltway. As of 2010, the Promenade Plantée access under the beltway is closed, although the Bois de Vincennes, just on the other side of the closed access, can be reached through the bustling streets of the Saint-Mandé district.

At the western, Bastille end of the parkway, it rises 10 m above the surrounding area and forms the Viaduc des Arts, a line of shops emphasizing highly skilled arts and crafts. The shops are located in the arches of the former elevated railway viaduct, with the parkway being supported atop the viaduct. This portion of the parkway runs parallel to the avenue Daumesnil. The parkway intersects the Jardin de Reuilly near the rue Montgallet and descends to street level. At that point, it becomes a mall and then follows the old railway right-of-way below street level towards the east, passing through several tunnels. As it reaches the rue du Sahel, it splits, with one portion continuing to the beltway, and the other terminating in the square Charles-Péguy along the former path of a branch line that one linked to the Petite Ceinture railway. The high-level route has some enclosed sections, as when it passes between modern buildings, and some open sections with expansive views.

In addition to the jardin de Reuilly and the square Charles-Péguy, the Promenade Plantée also includes the jardin de la gare de Reuilly, with its preserved but unused railway station, and the square Hector-Malot.

While other abandoned railways have been converted into parks and parkways, the Promenade Plantée is the first green space constructed on an elevated viaduct.


The Promenade Plantée is built on the former right-of-way of the Vincennes railway line, which linked the Bastille station to Verneuil-l'Étang beginning in 1859, passing through Vincennes. It ceased operation on December 14, 1969; part of the line was integrated into Line A of the RER, while the Paris-Vincennes was completely abandoned.

Beginning in the 1980s, the area was renovated. In 1984, the Bastille station was demolished to permit construction of the Opéra Bastille. The Reuilly area was designed in 1986; it incorporated the old commercial rail depot of Reuilly into a group of park areas. The Promenade Plantée was put into place at the same time in order to reuse the rest of the abandoned line between the Bastille and the old Montempoivre gate to the city. Landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux designed the parkway, and it was inaugurated in 1993. The arcades of the Viaduc des Arts were renovated in 1989, as was the new square Charles-Péguy.

The parkway was the only elevated park in the world for some years, but the first phase of the High Line, a similar park on an old railway-viaduct in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, was completed in 2010, and the second phase was completed in 2011; the third phase is still pending. There are also plans for the Bloomingdale Trail in Chicago and on old Reading Viaduct elevated rail in the Callowhill section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The western portion of the parkway may be accessed via stairways and elevators leading up to the elevated viaduct. This portion is reserved for pedestrians. The eastern portion of the parkway is accessible via ramps and stairways and is open to both pedestrians and cyclists. The west end can be reached from Bastille by walking 300 m south on Rue de Lyon, then left on Avenue Daumesnil. The staircase entrance is immediately on the left where Avenue Daumesnil enters rue de Lyon.

In popular culture

The Promenade Plantée appears in the film Before Sunset, directed by Richard Linklater in 2004 with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. It is also mentioned in the science fiction novel Olympos, by Dan Simmons.

See also

  • List of parks and gardens in Paris
  • High Line (New York City), similar elevated park in New York.

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