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|Jan to Dec - Monday to Sunday||09:00 AM to 05:00 PM|
It was decided in December 2010 that the former École Polytechnique’s garden would be opened to the public. This engineering school was founded by Napoleon at the end of the 19th Century. The Ministry of Higher Education and Research has settled in the buildings now and for security reasons as well as research worker efficiency, the garden will be open only on weekends and bank holidays. This à la française garden is 6085 square meters (65,500 square feet/1.5 acres). It is composed of trees, alleys, statues and a large square pool. It is the ideal place to relax after a walk in the Latin Quarter. For further information, you can contact +33 8 3668 3112.
Visit the Square René Viviani to see the oldest tree in Paris. Planted in 1601, the locust tree now relies on concrete beams for support, and you'll find a plaque at the base of the tree denoting its importance. During World War I, some of the upper branches of the tree were lost, but it still blooms every year. Jean Robin, a botanist, is believed to be the person who planted it.
Discretely situated in the 5th Arrondissement, these Roman ruins are easy to miss. They're a great place to come, however, if you're looking for a bit of greenery and a breath of fresh air in a friendly neighborhood setting. The ruins were first unearthed in 1869, and have since been excavated and landscaped. Parts of the Roman amphitheater are clearly visible: a testament to the Romans who founded the city of Lutetia, as Paris was first called. On weekends, expect to find families and loads of children running around. Or bring a book and a sandwich on a sunny weekday, and enjoy the peace and quiet.
The Montparnasse cemetery stretches over 18 hectares (45 acres) and houses the tombs of several famous French people. Situated on the land of former farms, the site was chosen by Napoléon and the cemetery was created in 1824 (after Père-Lachaise and Montmartre). It is divided up by straight walkways, two of which demarcate the Grand and the Petit cimetière. People laid to rest here include Alfred Dreyfus (of the Dreyfus Affair), the author Guy de Maupassant, Jean Seberg (the actress who starred in À Bout de Souffle ((Breathless)) among others), the poet Baudelaire, the literary couple Sartre and de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett and Serge Gainsbourg.
Square du Vert Galant is a little, green haven stuck out in the middle of the Seine. Tree-lined and set below the level of Pont Neuf, it has the feel of a hidden garden, a place to come to sit and read, to find some repose amongst the pigeons and sparrows. You can quite escape the fact that you are smack bang in the middle of the city, especially with the pleasure boats trundling up and down. Certainly worth taking the time to find a shady spot and take stock.
Jardin Catherine Labouré is located in the 7th Arrondissement and offers local residents and visitors a refuge of greenery in the city. Stop by and enjoy the expanses of lawn, and see what's growing in the vegetable garden. There's a playground for the kids and opportunities for picking fresh fruit.