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Life Style

Gardens, Parks and Places to Visit in Paris on Foot

This floral-focused stroll in Paris is the favorite of Sandra Sigman, the celebrated florist and author of the book “French Blooms,” about the distinctive French style of flower arrangement. Just short of three miles, it weaves through the gardens, green spaces and flower shops of the 6th and 7th arrondissements.

“I love the French approach to gardens,” said Ms. Sigman, 56. ”Although the spaces themselves are quite formal in their design, that doesn’t stop people from relaxing and enjoying their beauty.”

Start at Champ de Mars. The park surrounding the Eiffel Tower is always filled with blooms, and if you get there early, you’ll miss most of the crowds. From the park, head southeast on Rue Saint-Dominique to Boulangerie Laurent B, a sweet bakery with an enticing vintage charm. The canelé and pain au chocolat are the crowd favorites.

Continue along Rue Saint-Dominique, which will drop you in the center of Esplanade des Invalides. More of a park than a garden, it offers a stunning scenic walk with museums and monuments everywhere you look, like the Musée de L’Armée and Napoleon’s tomb.

Leave by way of Rue Saint-Dominique and head east until you hit Rue de Bellechasse. There, on the corner, sits Adriane M. Fleuriste, which boasts an expansive outdoor floral display. It’s as if “the shop itself can hardly contain all the beauty,” said Ms. Sigman.

The five-minute walk to the next stop is lovely: Head southeast on Rue Saint- Dominique to Blvd. Saint-Germain, then veer off on Blvd. Raspail to Rue du Bac to 69 bac, a lovely flower shop whose name echoes its address. You’ll have to search for it, but you’ll know you’ve found it when you see flowers peeking out of the building and into the street. Follow the blooms down the corridor to the entrance of the shop.

Just a block away, poke into Barthélemy, one of the neighborhood’s most charming cheese shops. For lunch, stop next door at Le Café Pierre Hermé. Sit in the courtyard and order the croque monsieur, a tea and a salted caramel macaron, advised Ms. Sigman.

Following lunch, it’s time to shop. From Le Café Pierre Hermé, make your way back to Rue de Bac, where in less than two blocks, you’ll come to La Maison du Bac, a shop dedicated to the art of tablescape, brimming with antique and new vessels perfectly suited for flower arranging.

Continue on Rue de Bac to Rue de Babylone, where on your right you’ll pass Square Boucicaut, a quaint city park with a carousel. The route from here to the next stop is less than a mile, though it takes a series of turns; from Rue de Babylone you’ll take Rue de Sèvres to Rue du Four to Rue de Rennes to Rue de l’Abbaye until you reach Rue de Furstemberg and the petite floral shop Oz Garden, which offers a highly curated and unusual selection of flowers and plants.

Its organically styled bouquets feel as though they’ve been freshly picked from the garden.

The delightful square surrounding Oz Garden is made up of narrow, tucked-away streets packed with small independent shops, including the tiny and fragrant spice shop, Compagnie Française. From here take Rue de Seine to Rue de Tournon — just a short 10-minute walk — and arrive at Astier de Villatte, a lovingly curated shop of antiques and tableware. Unconventional vases are a great way to add flair to your floral design and here you’ll find beautifully crafted porcelain pieces. Make your way to the back of the shop to see the displays of plates, vases, tureens and more that stretch from the floor to the ceiling.

Astier de Villatte faces the Palais du Luxembourg, which places you perfectly for a stroll through Jardin de Luxembourg, a classic Parisian park filled with friends picnicking, couples strolling hand-in-hand and children pushing toy sailboats around the duck pond. Just like the palace, which was built in the 1610s for Italian-born Queen Marie de’ Médicis and modeled after the Palazzo Pitti of Florence, the gardens feel royal. In true French garden fashion you’ll find precisely trimmed hedges, symmetrical placements of unique flowers and impressive potted urns.


Distance: 2.95 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Good for kids: The parks and gardens are ideal for children, but the shops are not child-centered.

Time to walk: From two hours to almost five with stops to shop and eat.

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Mohammad SHiblu

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