Floating Gardens, Giant Chalkboards, and Climbing Walls on Banks of Seine in Paris

August 12, 2013 by

les-berges-floating-gardens-jardins-flottants-urbangardensweb
Photo: Mairie de Paris.

Paris is transforming an utterly urban area along the River Seine to a cleaner, greener space. A new Left Bank promenade called the Berges de Seine (Banks of the Seine) was unveiled last month, and is quickly drawing crowds of walkers, cyclists and urbanites seeking a bit of nature.

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Photo: Architecture Urbanisme. 

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Photo: The Urban Observer 

The approximately 1.5-mile stretch features edible and floating gardens, patches of local plants, entertainment venues and innovative areas for children and adults to play and relax.

paris-seine-zzz-containers-
Photo: The Urban Observer

Known as Les Berges, the walkway is connected by footbridges to another pedestrian zones on the opposite bank, a 1.2 mile section of the Georges Pompidou highway that has been closed to traffic since last summer.

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Photo: Marie de Paris

escalier-orsay-rive-gauche-seine
Photo: Architecture Urbanisme.

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Photo: Mairie de Paris

The park’s coup de grace is an 1800-square-meter floating garden, comprised of five separate islands connected by bridges. This manmade archipelago grows a carefully designed combination of semi-aquatic plants and grasses. Likewise, the 400-square-meter garden in City Hall Square features native plants, including shrubs, grasses, vines and willow trees.

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Photo: Mairie de Paris

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Photo: The Urban Observer

Among Les Berges’ intriguing design touches are shipping containers that have been converted to private cabins called Zzz. Perfect for relaxing or holding private parties, these spaces are surrounded by local plants and can be reserved in advance for up to 90 minutes.

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Photo: Mairie de Paris.

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Photo: Mairie de Paris.

les-berges-zzzz
Photo: Mairie de Paris.

And there are plenty of whimsical activities for kids, including teepees that can be rented out for birthday parties, climbing walls, and a 20 x 3-meter slate chalk board for doodling and drawing. Work-weary parents, meanwhile, can take advantage of cozy reading nooks, comfortable wooden lounge chairs, live music performances and art exhibits.

rive-gauche-seine-paris-les-berges
Photo: Mairie de Paris.

tipis-les-berges-marc-verhille-marie-de-paris
Photo: Mairie de Paris. 

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Photo: Architecture Urbanisme.

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Photo: Mairie de Paris

climbing-wall-berges-de-paris-urban-observer
Photo: The Urban Observer

A bigger sustainability push is behind Les Berges. The Biodiversity Plan for Paris, developed in 2010, aims to bolster the variety of plants and animals throughout the city. The plan includes citizen workshops at four pilot locations, including the banks of the Seine, where locals will focus on managing riverside species, paying close attention to the impacts of human activity on plants and wildlife.

les-berges-planting-gardens
Photo: Architecture Urbanisme

floating-greenhouse-alma-bridge-berges-de-paris
Photo: The Urban Observer

Currently, 75 percent of France’s population resides in urban environments. Les Berges presents an opportunity to infuse some much needed nature into the Parisian psyche.

les-berges-table-and-people
Photo: Architecture Urbanisme

Amazingly, the city boasts more than 2,000 species of wild plants and fungi, plus 174 bird species and more than 30 fish species.

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Photo: Mairie de Paris

Most locals and visitors overlook this abundance of nature, but thanks to Les Berges, that mentality is likely to change sooner rather than later.

 

26 Comments »

  1. tinagleisner said:

    Fantastic photos and I too believe those living in the city are starting to focus more on their small patches of green while the suburbs appear to have less color, as gardening is work and not easily delegated to a service company like lawn care.

    — August 13, 2013 @ 06:47

  2. Robin Horton said:

    I agree Tina. Paris is doing a remarkable job of encouraging biodiversity and encouraging people to really use the city’s outdoor space.

    — August 13, 2013 @ 13:36

  3. tinagleisner said:

    Love how walkable & livable Paris is, and recently felt the same about parts of Boston … New York more challenging as you’ve got to get up high enough to get any natural sunlight indoors, a problem that’s stopping me from spending more time there.

    — August 13, 2013 @ 13:46

  4. The Lazy Gardener said:

    Really clever urban design. Maybe NYC and environs can follow suit.

    — August 15, 2013 @ 16:15

  5. Robin Horton said:

    NYC is doing quite a bit of greening under Mayor Bloomberg. Check out the NYC Parks and Rec website. You will see many cool things in the plans!

    — August 15, 2013 @ 22:08

  6. Rower said:

    ” shipping containers that have been converted to private cabins called Zzz. Perfect for relaxing or holding private parties, these spaces are surrounded by local plants and can be reserved in advance for up to 90 minutes.”

    What kind of a party can one hold in 90 minutes. Is “private party” French for “quickie”?

    — August 16, 2013 @ 20:11

  7. why_me said:

    should be a permanent feature – especially the food growing section – to all cities.
    was great to see the public respected the area and left the food growing – a very nice experience – bien fait Paris!

    — August 28, 2013 @ 01:53

  8. Les Berges in Paris | GardenDrum Pingback said:

    […] Read more at UrbanGardens […]

    — September 2, 2013 @ 22:00

  9. Robin Horton said:

    I totally agree! Public food gardens and beautiful ones to be enjoyed by all, it’s a win-win!

    — September 21, 2013 @ 10:04

  10. Robin Horton said:

    LOL. I think they meant that the spaces are available for rent for longer private events. 🙂

    — September 21, 2013 @ 10:08

  11. Robin Horton said:

    Thanks Catherine. I love this setting and can’t wait to return to Paris to see in person. Road trip? 🙂

    — September 21, 2013 @ 10:09

  12. Robin Horton said:

    Agree Tina, Paris and Boston are very walkable. But I find NYC very walkable too. there is so much going on in so many divers neighborhoods that one could be there every day and still find new things. Try walking around Alphabet City, Greenwich Village, and Brooklyn, where the buildings are lower and you may find the experience very different. Enjoy!

    — September 21, 2013 @ 10:11

  13. Robin Horton said:

    Hmm, not sure I see it this way. There are so many gorgeous gardens in the suburbs and some fabulous edible ones too. I know many just plant a lawn and leave it to the lawn car folks to keep it mowed and green, but many are foregoing lawns completely and planting front yard vegetable gardens–although some neighbors don’t like things to look “different” and some cities still make it tough, even subjected residents to fines. I say, do what you love where you live!

    — September 21, 2013 @ 10:14

  14. tinagleisner said:

    Thanks for the tips & I’ve put Alphabet City & Greenwich Village on the calendar for NYC in November

    — September 22, 2013 @ 08:23

  15. Floating Gardens, Giant Chalkboards, and Climbing Walls on Banks of Seine in Paris | pictures@news Pingback said:

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  16. Les Berges de Seine, Paris | MyPadTravelGuide Pingback said:

    […] urban area along the River Seine to a cleaner, greener space. A new Left Bank promenade called the Berges de Seine (Banks of the Seine) was unveiled last month [July 2013], and is quickly drawing crowds of walkers, […]

    — December 29, 2013 @ 07:14

  17. Donna said:

    I would LOVE a birthday party in a teepee…;)

    — August 19, 2014 @ 21:51

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  20. Harry Bramhall said:

    Is that a salt water River? If it is salt water, would it affect the plants growth?

    — June 27, 2015 @ 08:23

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  23. Battle of the Landscapes : Berges de Seine Paris vs Rhone River Bank Lyon · Landscape Architects Network Pingback said:

    […] There are also some steel/metal platforms with plants planted on them that reach to the riverside for people to observe. All these give Parisians or any visitors access to 2,000 species of wild plants and fungi, plus 174 bird species, as well as more than 30 fish species in the city according to this link. […]

    — December 4, 2016 @ 11:42

  24. » Where next for green architecture: How will the demise of London’s Garden Bridge impact future investment in urban greening? by Dr Ian Mell Pingback said:

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  25. “Vegitecture” Project Brings Vertical Farming to Paris Suburb | Hood Gardens Pingback said:

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  26. Manchester Urban Institute blog | Where next for green architecture: How will the demise of London’s Garden Bridge impact future investment in urban greening? by Dr Ian Mell - Manchester Urban Institute blog Pingback said:

    […] Paris has invested in floating gardens, parks and recreational areas in the River Seine. Berlin’s […]

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