1 December 2023


Installation in the grounds of the Cité internationale universitaire, in Paris.

Designed for education, rest or discovery, surprising or exceptional gardens are hidden in unsuspected places in the capital and its surroundings. Five of these boxes are an invitation to go green.

The garden of the city gardeners

The developed pond of the Du Breuil school, in the Bois de Vincennes.

Located a few trot strides from the Bois de Vincennes racecourse, the Du Breuil school – which trains gardeners for the City of Paris – is widely open to the public. Labeled “Remarkable Garden” – a label awarded by the Ministry of Culture – its garden constitutes an exceptional botanical complex with its counterpart, the Paris arboretum. Originally set up near Lake Daumesnil during the development of the woods ordered by Napoleon III, the school moved to its current location in 1936. It owes its name to the professor of arboriculture who was its first director, and continues the educational mission of its origins by adapting it to new climatic constraints or the preservation of life.

The visitor can discover the didactic spaces (a market garden orchard, a practical work area or shared gardens) reserved for the students, a trellised orchard, an open-air orchard where the greenhouses can only be glimpsed, but it is especially the collection of perennial plants in flowerbeds or the rose garden which catches the eye in season. A landscaped pond, a rockery recreating different environments or the surroundings of a large pond punctuated with aquatic plants are all spaces conducive to wandering and discovery. A row of climbing plants mounted on metal supports leads to the fruticetum, a collection of shrubs grouped according to their color or the period of their flowering.

Ecole Du Breuil, entrance route de la Pyramide, opposite the entrance to the Paris arboretum, in the Bois de Vincennes. Free access. Practical information on ecoledubreuil.fr

A university campus

Plant composition, in the park of the Cité internationale universitaire, in Paris.

Facing the Haussmannian Parc Montsouris, Boulevard Jourdan, the Cité internationale universitaire park is one of the largest wooded areas in Paris (along with the Parc de La Villette and the Père-Lachaise cemetery). Free of access, it constitutes a beautiful but fragile green setting for the forty-three “houses”, originally inspired, in the interwar period, by the architecture of English universities. A private law foundation, the city now welcomes several thousand residents, mainly foreign students. A legacy of history – and of the Cold War: old colonial houses make up for the absence of Russian or former Eastern European pavilions.

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