Coulée verte René-Dumont is a tree-lined walkway built along the top of a disused railway – a 4.7 km (2.9 mile) elevated ‘linear park’ in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.
I wandered along it on a sunny warm day in April 2015 with David, who took some of these photos.
The height of the walkway means you walk in a kind of mid space in the city along through the middle of the buildings and apartment blocks, looking down on the roads and parks below. It’s a structured encounter with the city and with the many people using the walkway to journey through the city.
Steps up from the street lead to the top of the viaduct at the start of the elevated park, and the path continues through trees and shrubs, dropping down to a street level park, and on through a tunnel to a garden at the end. It’s a fascinating walk, particularly for the other small gardens and environments that accompany the Promenade Plantee as it traverses the built environment – the plastic window boxes and the apartment balcony gardens – the surrounding architecture and lived spaces at eye level.
The Promenade Plantée is built on the former tracks of the Vincennes railway line which closed in 1969. In the 1980s, the area was renovated and green walkway was created in order to reuse the rest of the abandoned line between the Bastille and the old Montempoivre gate to the city. It was designed by landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux and opened in 1993. It was the only elevated park in the world for some years, until the first phase of the High Line in New York was completed in 2009. There’s strangely little information about it on the web, so perhaps the most interesting search is the google image generator for Promenade Plantee. Here is the official site which is beautifully internet ancient.