Summer in the city is a perfect time to seek out the many activities available at little to no cost in Paris. One of my favorites is the summer concert series at the beautiful Parc Floral de Paris in the heart of the royal forest, Bois de Vincennes, and next to the Château de Vincennes.
Parc Floral de Paris is comprised of about 69 acres of natural beauty. The park was opened in 1969 as a green space for nature lovers and city dwellers. The gardens are an ideal place to relax, to take walks and to have picnics. Parc Floral is known for its horticultural presentations, expositions and its thematic gardens. As a recognized botanical garden since 1998, you can discover numerous unique plants and flowers. The Japanese garden is particularly popular with its unique collections of bonsai, iris and dahlias intermixed with sculptures by the Italian sculpture, Volti. Flower lovers delight in the Valée des fleurs, which is a promenade comprised of 28 sections and pavilions. The rainbow of colors and textures during the early summer is outstanding.
There are numerous areas for children to play making the park an ideal family destination. A further plus for families is the imaginative and delightful Pestacles. This is a program for children consisting of concerts, events and activities. It was started ten years ago and has continued every summer with theatre, puppets and an interactive show. The goal is to raise awareness of the arts amongst a younger generation. The Pestacles is held every Wednesday beginning in early June with performances continuing until the end of September.
In addition to Pestacles, Parc Floral hosts the Paris Jazz Festival and the Festival Classique au Vert. The Paris Jazz Festival presents concerts throughout the city during the months of June and July.
Classique au Vert begins when the Paris Jazz Festval is ending and it continues into September. The venue is classical and performances are every Saturday and Sunday. There is a small fee of 5,50 euros for entrance to the park on event days but there is no additional fee to attend any of the concerts. Covered seating is available as well as an expansive lawn for picnicers. There are also numerous benches within hearing distance if the pavilion is full.
Remember that Sundays are quiet in Paris, particularly in August, so what could be more enjoyable than a Sunday in the park enjoying classical music thanks to Classique au Vert.
For program details, here is their website.
Getting there: Ligne 1 of the metro is direct to Château de Vincennes. Ligne 1 cuts directly through Paris and connects with numerous other lignes making getting to and from Parc Floral easy. You can also take the RER-A or bus number 46.
photos by Loui Franke
Loui Franke is author of Parisian Postcards: Snapshots of Life in Paris.