In the "Park it in Paris" series, I write about the city's parks - some of the best spots to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.
Tucked away very close to the Louvre and right in the center of Paris is a garden you can easily miss if not seeking it out. Yet just a few short steps from one of the most visited museums in the world is a peaceful garden. Perfect to get away from the crowds, soak up some sunshine, and enjoy a picnic lunch.
This park is certainly a popular spot with the locals. As the weather warms up and summer approaches, it gets increasingly difficult to score a chair during the peak lunch time hours, although an unoccupied bench under the shady tree-lined arches can usually be found. Once the large fountain opens for the season, seating around the edge of it is another possibility.
I first learned of this serene garden on my way to a restaurant. Not surprisingly, that restaurant is a large part of the reason I return back to the area time and time again.
Which one, you ask? That would be Verjus. There is so much to say about this wonderful restaurant and wine bar, but the thing you need to know today is that the wine bar is open Tuesday-Friday for lunch. And you should go. Order a meal to go and enjoy it in the lovely Jardin du Palais Royal. Or sit in the small wine bar, enjoy a delicious sandwich and glass of wine, and then take a stroll in the park before jolting back to reality.
Verjus' presence proves that excellent food does exist in the touristy neighborhood near the Louvre. And the Jardin du Palais Royal offers the perfect break from the crowded streets gridlocked with tourists in the center of the city. Follow the Parisians and embrace the opportunity to pause and appreciate the beauty around.
PLAN YOUR TRIP:
Jardin du Palais Royal
Access on rue de Montpensier, rue des Petits-Champs, or through the inner courtyard of Palais Royal (by the Buren columns)
Open daily: October 1-March 31: 7:30am to 8:30pm; April 1-May 31: 7:00am to 10:15pm; June 1 to August 31: 7:00am to 11:00pm; September 1 to September 30: 7:00am to 9:30pm
47 rue Montpensier, 75001 Paris
Sandwich bar is open Tuesday-Friday 12:30pm-2:00pm
But wait, there's more! - Still looking for more to do in the area? Go to Telescope for a good cup of coffee. Or stop by the pâtisserie Gosselin on rue Saint Honoré - I discovered them on a chocolate tour in Paris (this shop supplies bread and pastries to the President at the Elysée Palace).