The Best Gardens in Paris

 Paris is abundant in little gated squares, parks and tree-lined avenues, so you rarely get the feeling of being trapped in an urban jungle. Even so, even in a city with as much greenery as Paris, sometimes you seek wide-open spaces and luckily Paris has a mighty fine selection of these too. From the famous Tuileries gardens to the lesser-known Albert Kahn museum, I’ve curated a list of my favourite green spots, each of which is breathtakingly beautiful and unique to the next.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Located in the 6th arrondissement, the Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the prettiest gardens boasting the beautiful building of the Sénat, an orangery and the Medici fountain. The gardens come to life in spring when Frenchmen start their days early with a traditional game of boules and children drive the model sailboats in the water feature.

Tuileries

No garden is more quintessentially Parisian with its backdrop of renaissance architecture or more ideally situated. The Jardin des Tuileries is surrounded by some of the most iconic buildings in Paris, located in between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde with the Musée d’Orsay in sight. Every season breathes new life into the gardens; summer brings with it flowers of every shade and autumn brings burnt orange leaves scattered along the tree-lined promenades.

 

Albert Kahn

A little slice of foreign culture within the confines of the périphérique; the Albert Kahn museum will have you feeling as though you’ve been transported to Japan. Walk over oriental bridges that cross the pond where lotus flowers float and koi fish come to the surface for air. The best time of year is sakura season when the gardens are dotted in nature’s pink and white confetti from the cherry blossom trees.

 

Parc de Bagatelle

Not everyone knows that there’s a castle in the center of Paris and that is perhaps why the Chateau de Bagatelle remains one of Paris’ best-kept secrets. The chateau itself is rather sweet, but it’s the gardens that are the real attraction. Luscious grass rolls into manicured rose gardens that roll into established flowerbeds – these gardens really do have it all. Keep your eye out for the peacocks that roam the grounds showing off their glorious colours.

 

Buttes Chaumont

The main pull of this park is the outstanding views over the city that can be best enjoyed from Temple de la Sibylle, an Italianesque pagoda at the highest peak. The park is unique to any other as it is landscaped around jugged cliff faces with a lake and cascading waterfalls.

Parc Monceau

Parc Monceau has a palatial feel to it; enclosed by gold gates reminiscent of Versailles and overlooked by classic Haussmannian architecture. The park becomes very lively in the warmer months filled with Parisians enjoying their lunch break al fresco and seeking a little calm from the working day.

Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris and the vintage lampposts and 17th century redbrick buildings which frame it wouldn’t have you believe anything else. A couple of minutes from the bustling Marais area, this is just the spot to enjoy one of the famous falafels that you’ll find along rue des Rosiers.

Les Serres d’Auteuil

This beautiful botanical garden is home to a selection of greenhouses with astounding collections of plants. One is dedicated to cacti with varying shapes and sizes of these prickly plants. Plant enthusiast or not though, this garden will please all of its visitors. Make sure not to miss the beautiful bird aviary in the central building.

L’arc de triomphe du carrousel

I remember when I very first saw the l’Arc du Carrousel, I was amazed yet confused at the same time. Why had I never seen a photo of it nor heard of it before? I’d been exposed continuously to the original Arc de Triomphe which paled in my eyes in comparison to this beautiful arch. To me it was a prettier, daintier version of the Arc de Triomphe, more modest and not as imposing. Whilst I understand the historical significance of the Arc de Triomphe, I still secretly prefer it’s little sister, the rose marbled Arc du Carrousel.

The Best Granola in Paris

Whilst Paris may have been late to the brunch scene, it is safe to say that over the past few years it has exploded. Of course no Sunday morning would be complete without the quintessential brunch favourite – granola. Lightly toasted, nutty and simply heavenly there are no shortage of ways it can be enjoyed. Thanks to the abundance of trendy cafes opening up all over the city, it needn’t be confined to brunch but can be enjoyed at any time of day.

Rose bakery is the place we can thank for making brunch fashionable in Paris. A now firmly established organic cafe with a health-conscious following, who return time and time again for their colourful salads and killer juices. Their granola is baked in house favouring seasonality and simplicity.

Once you’ve tried this delicious blend your mornings will feel all the more toilsome without it. Luckily they include this famous granola recipe in their book, so you can make it at home to brighten up your day. It will fill your apartment with the most delicious nutty smell and you can enjoy the first bowl still warm out of the oven. Address: Inside le Bon Marché // Métro: Sèvres Babylone

Telescope café has already earned itself quite a reputation for its flawless coffee made with raw milk, pair this with their granola and you’ve got yourself a perfect breakfast which will keep you satisfied until lunchtime. Here you’ll find a custom blend of Emperor Norton; the expert of baked rolled oats in Paris providing all the hippest cafes with their home-made granola. Telescope offer a generous portion of this crunchy goodness sprinkled over fromage blanc and topped with a little jam of your choice. Address: 5 Rue Villedo, 75001 Paris // Métro: Pyramides

For a vegan friendly option, head straight to Café Pinson, one of the few cafes in Paris offering almond milk. It’s so refreshing to discover new places catering for the vegetarians and vegans among us, serving their granola with an array of dairy-free alternatives such as soya and almond milk yoghurt or fruit compote. Address: 6 Rue du Forez, 75003 Paris // Métro: Filles du Calvaire

The charming little Fondation café is the perfect place to fuel up when you’re in need of a little pit-stop. It’s also a pretty awesome breakfast spot offering a beautifully displayed bowl of granola with freshly sliced pear and jam. Make sure to arrive extra hungry, so that you won’t have to miss out on the avocado on toast and banana bread. Address: 16 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003 Paris // Métro: Temple

Coutume is no secret to coffee lovers in Paris – one of the first of the new wave cafes which we can thank for putting good coffee on the radar. A hot spot for both Parisians and expats alike, this place tends to get very busy around lunchtime. If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter their homemade granola served alongside a pot of thick creamy yoghurt and fresh fruit is the perfect afternoon snack. Address: 7 Rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris // Métro: Sèvres Babylone

Saving the best for last, Soul Kitchen is the easy winner of the best granola in Paris. Their granola is flawless. Here you’ll get the choice out of three home-made granolas served along side a pot of the creamiest and thickest yoghurt. Their portion sizes are beyond generous leaving it’ll a struggle to finish, which is a wonderful contrast to the stingy measured spoonful that most cafes serve. Address: 33 Rue Lamarck, 75018 Paris // Métro: Lamarck Caulaincourt

A few other excellent home-made granolas not featured above include Frenchie to go and Bob’s kitchen

Whilst granola might not be your go-to gouter, it certainly provides a healthier option than cake and will give you that burst of energy you often need come mid-afternoon. With places like these, offering home-made blends it would be a shame not to make the most of it.

Rome guide

After extensive research, tips from locals and the help of my trusty guidebook (seen below) I believe I managed to uncover the best of Rome. I’m definitely no expert but this little guide should help you to uncover what Italy is most famous for; gelato; focaccia and coffee; in short Italian cuisine. After all, if there was one city in the world you had to eat your way through, it would surely be the Italian capital.

BREAKFAST

Breakfast in Rome can often be limited to coffee and croissants, which isn’t the best fuel for a full day of sight-seeing so I was glad to have come across the sweet, little Angelina, a cafe serving lots of yogurt, red berries and sweets alongside freshly squeezed juices.

Address: Via Poli, 27 Roma, Italy // Open: daily 9am – midnight

SIGHTSEEING

When they say that Rome is an open-air museum, they are not over-exaggerating, you can’t walk down one street without accidentally stumbling across ancient ruins or stunning churches. Of course there are the obligatory stops such as the Spanish steps, the Pantheon and the Colosseum but try waking up before sunrise and venturing out onto the empty backstreets to make your way up to the Vatican City when its eerily quiet without another soul in sight.

GELATO

GIOLITTI

The oldest gelateria and one of the best in Rome. After over a century of experience you can bet that this place has perfected the most sought-after gelato recipe in Italy. Of course it’s a secret one which shan’t ever be shared, meaning you’ll have to try one for yourself.

Address: Via Uffici del Vicario, 40 00186 // Open: Sun – Sat 7am – 2am

CIAMPINI

This chic cafe can be found on the corner of a very Italian square which is also the location of a select number of designer boutiques. The gelato is nothing short of exquisite, but to be truly appreciated it must be eaten on the terrace with the most picturesque of surroundings.

Address: Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina, 29, 00186 Roma // Open: daily 7:30am – 10pm

The above gelaterias are ones which are famous and with good reason but that isn’t to say that the lesser known ones are any less good. It’s safe to say that most gelato in Rome will be delicious. I passed one and ambled in by chance, only to have one of the best ice creams I’d had the whole trip. Everything was organic and natural and the watermelon gelato was incredibly fresh and authentic in taste.

CAFES

CAFFE DELLA PACE

This classic Roman cafe has lots of charm. The former gathering place of great poets, writers and thinkers, the Roman equivalent to the Café de Flore in Paris. It’s dimmed lighting and mahogany interior provide a romantic spot for mid-morning brunch or an evening cocktail.

Address: Via della Pace, 3/7, 00186 Roma // Open: 8:30am – 2am

BARNUM CAFE

I very rarely put my faith into spontaneously finding a good eatery/cafe. Falling into one too many tourist traps has taught me to always research where to eat and drink. Barnum cafe was, however, one of those finds. You know that feeling when you discover the best secret in a city, but actually discover it completely by chance. It’s a rarity, but when it happens, it has to be savoured. They serve the best caffè shakerato (iced espresso) which comes in a martini glass for only 1 euro. The ambiance and superb sound track make it the coolest Italian cafe I visited.

Address: Via del Pellegrino, 87, 00186 Roma // Open daily 9am – 1:30am

BAR DEL FICO

The superb coffee is just one of the reasons why the trendiest Italians flock here. It’s the stripped back interior of this modern cafe decorated with mix-matched colourful chairs and the upbeat atmosphere that make it the place to be seen.

Address: Piazza del Fico, 26, 00186 Roma // Open: daily 8am – 2am

FOCACCIA

I should have know that if anyone can do a sandwich right, it would be the Italians. Homemade focaccia brushed with olive oil and baked in a wood oven then filled with mozzarella, roasted vegetables or in my case courgette flowers. The best place in Rome is the old forno di campo de’ fiori where all of the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. Get there early as there is always a queue.

Address: Piazza Campo Dè Fiori, 22, 00186 Roma // Open: Mon-Sat 7.30-14.30 16.45-20.00

TIRAMISU

You simply cannot go to Italy and not have a tiramisu. Pompi is the place that everyone raves about but I happened to order one at the aforementioned Angelina and can vouch for it’s deliciousness.

Address: Via Albalonga, 7b/9/11, 00183 Roma // Open: 7am – 1.30am

Angelina sorbet

I always used to stop by Amorino for sorbet, until the day I discovered Angelina. Their extensive fruit flavours grabbed my attention and once I’d tried the pêche de vigne and abricot, well there was no going back. The flavours that took my fancy the most created a soft palette of pinks and amber in the pot, pleasing to the eyes and even more so to the taste buds. For now I’m dreaming of my upcoming holiday to Cape Verde, an island off of Africa where the beaches are endless and where I’m hoping there might be some sorbet too.

Paris bucket list

1. Palais de Versailles // 2. Buy something from le Bon Marché // 3. Eat croissants for breakfast // 4. Marvel at the Mona Lisa // 5. Attach a padlock to Pont des Arts // 6. Watch the sunset over Place de la Concorde // 7.Chocolat Chaud from Angelina // 8. Go to the Opéra // 9. Eat an omelette from Café de Flore // 10. Guided tour on the back of a moped //11. Ride on a carousel // 12. Vélib around Paris // 13. Picnic along the Seine // 14. Eat macarons // 15. Buy a pair of Repetto ballet flats // 16. Stay out until 5am to watch the sunrise over the skyline //17. Visit a mini chateau in the centre of Paris // 18. Visit a chateau outside of Paris // 19. French pharmacy haul // 20. Ride shotgun on the metro // 21. Flirt with a French waiter // 22. Watch the Champs-Elysées from the Ferris Wheel // 23. Drink coffee in Paris’ smallest cafe // 24. La Tour Eiffel //

 1. PALAIS DE VERSAILLES

The Palais de Versailles is as magical in reality as depicted in the Marie Antoinette film. A visit to this palace would be a dream come true for nearly every girl.

2. BUY SOMETHING FROM LE BON MARCHE

The oldest department store in Paris and by far the fanciest. It has become a rite of passage to ride the famous escalator and to stare wide eyed at the impossibly chic Parisians updating their wardrobes with the latest trends.

3. EAT CROISSANTS FOR BREAKFAST

If you’re on a no-carb diet, it simply must go out the window when you’re in Paris. It would be a sin not to try their deliciously flaky and buttery croissants for breakfast. Two of the best are the Ispahan from Pierre Hermé and the vanilla one from Café Pouchkine.

4. MARVEL AT THE MONA LISA

Get your culture fix at the most impressive museum in Paris and watch the Mona Lisa smile at you across the room. That being said, if you can see her behind the herds of tourists and their cameras.

5. ATTACH A PADLOCK TO PONT DES ARTS

A recent tradition in Paris which has boomed and consequently resulted in a bridge which is extremely over-crowded in padlocks. If you can find a free space, cement your love for your partner by engraving a padlock and then throwing the key into the Seine.

6. WATCH THE SUNRISE OVER PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

Any spot will do, as long as the Eiffel Tower can be seen somewhere in the distance.

7. CHOCOLAT CHAUD FROM ANGELINA

Notorious for the best hot chocolate in Paris, but its the exquisite interior which makes Angelina unique to other chocolatiers.

8. GO TO THE OPERA

Watch a ballet or an opera performance at the Palais Garnier and be stunned not only by the performance but by the gold adorned décor which is breathtaking. If you don’t get the chance to go by night, then entrance can be obtained by day as a tourist.

9. EAT AN OMELETTE AT CAFE DE FLORE

Café de Flore is where all of the poets and philosophers used to flock to write and be inspired. Order a café crème and one of their signature fluffy omelettes.

10. GUIDED TOUR ON THE BACK OF A MOPED

Has anyone watched the old-school film, Passport to Paris? This pretty much says it all. Find a cute Frenchman and live out your teenage fantasy of letting him show you around Paris on the back of his moped in true Mary-Kate and Ashley style.

11. RIDE A CAROUSEL

As childlike as it may seem, riding on one of Paris’ many carousels is a pretty fun way to loose your inhibition. Pick up some barbe à papa (candy floss or Daddy’s beard as the French call it) for the full experience.

12. VELIB AROUND PARIS

The best way to see Paris is by bike, a tad scary but as long as you stay away from the enormous roundabouts you’ll be alright. With a system as effective as the vélib public bikes, it really couldn’t be easier.

13. PICNIC ALONG THE SEINE

Pop to the local boulangerie for a baguette, fromagerie for cheese and marchand de vin for wine and you’ll be all set for one of the best picnics of your life. Head to the bridge under Pont Neuf for the most idyllic spot.

14. EAT MACARONS

Because a trip to Paris simply wouldn’t be complete without a few of these mouthfuls of heaven.

15. BUY A PAIR OF REPETTO BALLET FLATS

Because every girl dreams of walking the streets of Paris in Brigitte Bardot’s favourite shoes.

16. WATCH THE SUNRISE OVER THE SKYLINE

Stay out dancing until dawn, drink champagne and maybe a mojito or two. Leave the club when it’s still just about dark outside, hop on the metro to Montmartre and watch the sunrise over the city. It’s pretty phenomenal and might end up being one of your  most memorable nights (or mornings) in Paris.

17. VISIT A MINI CHATEAU IN THE CENTER OF PARIS

Not everyone knows that there is in fact a mini chateau within the périphérique of Paris. Nestled within the 16th arrondissement, the Chateau de Bagatelle has so much more to offer than the charm of a castle, it has pagodas, peacocks and the most beautiful rose garden.

18. VISIT A CHATEAU OUTSIDE OF PARIS

There is an abundance of Chateaux just outside of Paris, and you would’t expect anything less from a country as rich in culture as France. It’s as simple as picking your favourite and planning a day-trip.

19. FRENCH PHARMACY HAUL

French cosmetics have long been hailed by models, actresses and make-up artists and nowhere stocks them as high or sells them as cheap as the French pharmacies do. The best but also the busiest can be found in St Germain along rue du Four.

20. RIDE SHOTGUN ON THE METRO

It’ll feel as though your riding a roller coaster into oblivion. It may take a couple of drinks to work up the courage to ask the driver, but if you ask nicely and bat your eyelashes I’m sure he won’t say no.

21. FLIRT WITH A FRENCH WAITER

When in France…

22. RIDE ON THE FERRIS WHEEL

Unlike the London Eye, this ferris wheel isn’t permanent. If you’re lucky enough to catch it, make sure to take it for great views towards the iconic Champs-Elysées.

23. DRINK COFFEE IN PARIS’ SMALLEST CAFE

Tiny in size yet huge in reputation, this shoe repair shop tuned cafe makes a stellar cup of coffee.

24. LA TOUR EIFFEL

Of course a bucket list in Paris would not be complete without her majesty, the Iron Lady.

25. JUMP INTO THE SEINE

Has nobody else ever dreamed of following in the crazy whims of Jane Birkin? Sadly this is the only one that I am yet to tick off..

I’d love to hear your suggestions if there’s anything I’ve missed that’s on your Paris bucket-lists.

National Archives

I hadn’t quite realised how much the National Archives resemble a castle until looking back over these photos which were taken some time last year. The turrets make it look like as though it could very nearly pass for one the Chateaux de la Loire. although not quite. The more I compare Paris to other cities I visit, the more I realise just how attractive Paris really is. Every aspect of it is achingly beautiful from the bridges, to the architecture to the manicured gardens.

Kim Jones Pont Alexandre III

These photos bring back some pretty fun memories of chasing sunlight around Paris with Kim. Although taken a little while ago I simply had to share them if for no other reason than the beautiful pair of Jimmy Choos. There are a few items that a girl will always dream of owning and I’m pretty sure that a pair of Jimmy Choos will often feature on that list. Kim’s envy-inducing red pumps were the classic finish to the iconic backdrop of Pont Alexandre III.

For more photos from our shoot together take a look at Kim’s blog.

Kim Jones

Perspective

The Louvre is pretty incredible from any which angle you look at it. I remember sitting on the bridge for a long while and taking in every intricate detail of this building. Sometimes I have to remind myself to take it all in with my eyes and not just through my lens. I find memories stick with me so much more when I remember to put down my camera for a moment and really appreciate what is in front of me.