Here are a few of my favorite secluded (and some not so secluded!) Paris Squares – where you can enjoy the scenery while you ponder on what to do in Paris. In French, a square will be called ‘place’. The well-known squares such as Place de la Concord, Place de la Bastille or Place de Charles de Gaulle are found on all the maps and guides so I want to draw your attention to lesser known and sometimes isolated squares that will offer you a peaceful location to regroup and plan your next stop of the day.
The Paris squares or places that we want to peak at are those that are more secluded – somewhat like a park in miniature. These will be the locations that can give you respite from a busy day. As you restore your spirit, enjoy the French architecture around the squares, the beautiful plants and the peaceful quiet.
Take the metro to Volontaires (line 12) and at 43 rue Blomet you will find a relaxing park where you can enjoy watching the locals play pétanque.
Take the metro to Pont-Neuf(line 7)and walk across Pont-Neuf to Ile de la cité. The entrances to Place Dauphine are rue de Harlay and place Pont-Neuf. Open daily this square is on the western tip of the Île de la Cité. Benches provide a restful place to watch the pétanque players.
Square Émile Chautemps
Metro stop Rèaumur Sebastapol (line 4)is the closest stop to this beautiful square. If you visit the Musée des Arts et Métiers or the Arc de Triomphes of Port Saint Denis or Port Saint Martin this square is a lovely place to go over your maps and decide on your next destination.
Square Georges Cain
Take the metro to Saint-Paul (line 1) or Chemin Vert(line 8). The two gardens found here provide an excellent respite from the hustle and bustle of your shopping expedition in the Marais. One garden is the square Georges located across from the Swedish Cultural Center on rue Payenne and the other garden is behind the Cultural Center on rue Elzévir.
This place/square is not particularly isolated but it holds a history and a beautiful fountain that I just have to call your attention to. Restaurants and cafes encircle the square and it is close to both Les Halles for shopping and Saint-Eustache church. Bordered by rue des Innocents and rue Saint-Denis, the closest metro stop to the Fountain of Innocents is Châtelet (lines 1,4,7,11 and 14).
To reach the 80 rue Taitbout entrance to Square d’Orléans, take the metro to either Trinité or Saint-Georges stop (both on line 12). Designed by a British architect, you will be struck by the British influence found in the central courtyards, fountain and lower levels. Both Chopin and George Sand lived nearby during their love affair.
Take the metro to the Sèvres-Babylone (line 10) stop. You will find Square Récamier located at 7 rue Récamier. It is small but filled with a myriad of plants and a small waterfall.
Square René Viviani
From metro Saint Michel (line 8), walk along Quai St-Michel (or rue de la Hachette which parallels Quai St-Michel) in the direction of Notre Dame approximately 2 blocks. At rue St Julien le Pauvre you will find Square René Viviani. This square has one of the oldest trees in Paris which is 15 meters tall and 3.5 meters in circumference. It also has a wonderful view of Notre Dame.
Square de la Roquette
A short walk down rue de la Roquette from the Voltaire metro stop (line 9) in the direction of Père Lachaise Cemetery will bring you to this quiet oasis. There are beautiful flower gardens, walking paths, benches and a children’s play area. It is very accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Be sure to read the information on the entry gate as there was once a convent here in the late 1700s and more recently a prison. The memorial plaque on the front honors the 4,000 women of the Resistance who were imprisoned here during the German Occupation of Paris. More photos and history can be found here.
Take the metro to Latour-Maubourg (line 8). You find the entrance to Square Denys- Bühler at 147 rue de Grenelle. This garden belongs to the parish Saint-Jean of the French Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Square du Temple
Take the metro to Arts et Metiers (line 3 or line 11 ) and walk east on rue Rèaumur for about 4 minutes to the park entrance which is actually on rue de Bretagne (rue Rèaumur bends into rue de Bretagne). Sunday morning I found a large group of people doing Tai Chi and another group playing boules. The Square is fairly large with lush green foliage and a pond.
Although the purpose of this post is to draw your attention to some less publicized squares in Paris, I couldn’t miss saying a little something about Place Vosges. It is enjoyed by so many tourists and Parisians alike and has a lovely history. Built by Henry IV, today Place Vosges draws tourists for its lovely restaurants and shopping.