Park it in Paris: Parc Floral

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.

The Bois de Vincennes is Paris' largest park, located in the eastern reaches of the city. It features not one but four lakes, a (recently re-opened) zoo, an arboretum, and gardens. The Parc Floral de Paris is one of the gardens within the vast expanse of the Bois de Vincennes and is one of four parks that comprises Paris' botanical garden.

Flowers in March 2014

Between late September and early June, the park is free to everyone. In the summer there is a small fee to enter (see details at end of post) on the weekends and Wednesdays. The Espace Delta pictured below is the venue for special events to take place (which occur on those days admission is charged for entrance).

All the flowers were in their prime back in March, but weren't there when I returned in June

Monet-style - I call it "Pique-nique sur l'herbe"

Let's talk more about the Espace Delta. I went last Sunday (June 8th) to see a jazz concert. It was the first weekend of the Paris Jazz Festival, a free concert series going on every weekend through the end of July at Parc Floral.   

This picture sums up a lot about the park - the event space, picnickers peppered over the lawns, and in the foreground all those white plaques labeling the plants in the botanical garden.

I can go either way with jazz - sometimes I can really appreciate it, and sometimes its art is lost on me. I had no idea what to expect, but when Didier Lockwood and his quartet started to play, I was absolutely amazed. They were incredibly talented musicians, and to think that I got to attend a concert (that lasted for a full 1.5 hours!) for only the €5.50 park entrance fee makes it a summer steal! 

You can watch the two video clips I captured, one of the quartet and one of Didier's solo performance. If the rest of the performances this summer as wonderful as this one, I highly recommend attending!

So this is the point when Didier Lockwood decided to start running around the crowds while playing his violin. As if he didn't stun us enough when he was somewhat stationary on stage. 

Even if you're not going to the Parc Floral for a concert, there is still lots to do. It is especially good for children with its two large sections of playgrounds and activities for kids. It's a great park for picnicking with lots of green lawn. People really have lots of space to spread out and enjoy a proper meal. If you didn't bring food, there are two small restaurants on site. And there's even a small art gallery you can meander through. 

Event or not, the Parc Floral is a lovely park to explore and spend an afternoon.


Parc Floral de Paris

Esplanade du Château de Vincennes - Route de la Pyramide, Bois de Vincennes,  75012 Paris, France

Open daily, Summer hours 9:30am-8:00pm / Winter hours 9:30am-6:30pm

Free except between June 4th - September 24th when admission is charged on weekends and Wednesdays; Regular admission €5.50, reduced rate €2.75, free for children under 7 years old (prices as of June 2014)

And for more on the Paris Jazz Festival for Summer 2014 in Parc Floral, get more information on the What's on in Paris page or directly from the official website.