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Square Danielle-Mitterrand, a hidden Paris garden

This pearl-shaped park is hidden on a narrow street that jets off the Seine. There are apartment buildings nestled to both sides of the park and, like a village in the countryside, there are no alleyways between the abutting buildings. They resemble a sinuous wave of white that crawls its way into the heart of the fifth arrondissement.

This park is quite small, so compact that it is not on a city map of Paris. To discover this place in the middle of an autumn afternoon is a treat, especially when the orange leaves are falling on Halloween. This neighborhood is one of the elite quarters of Paris, and should you know someone that lives here it must be lovely and serene.

Enter through the black gate at the sole entrance of the park. Three green benches face the central courtyard, and a mountain of leaves and ivy crawl along the expanse of a three-story rock wall. A water fountain is tucked away in the shadows, to the right-hand side of the park, at the entrance. There is a staircase that opens to the central courtyard where a collection of flora is planted inside a round stone garden. Four benches encircle the central courtyard, with an intimate view of the street scene below.

A blue art gallery is on the first floor of a three-story apartment building. It is in plain sight from the central courtyard, and every so often people pass by on their way to the Seine, pausing for a moment to look inside the pocket of green. Most people kept walking by, but a few locals stopped for a chat on the benches, eating a quick lunch in the shade of the trees.  This is a good place to take a break from the street noise and commotion along the river, or to disappear completely within the village life of ancient Paris.

Gregory Ross is the author of the Hidden Parks of Paris [1], the first-ever travel book on the parks of Paris. It is available now on Amazon [1]. He currently lives in Honolulu.