Yesterday, I happened upon a hidden gem of a garden in the heart of Paris in the 7th arrondisement. I was walking down Rue de Babylone next to a high stone wall. As I passed a large gate I peeked inside and realized it was a park/garden.
The park is called Jardin Catherine-Labouré. The main entrance is at 29 Rue de Babylone. It is not obvious that this is a public park but it is. It is surrounded most sides by buildings so it isn’t likely you will find it unless you happen by this main entrance. Here is the entrance off Rue de Babylone.
Even more unlikely is that you will find an even more hidden entrance on Rue Vaneau (roughly 57 Rue Vaneau at the cross street with Rue Oudinot). You go down an alley between two buildings, then through a street level pathway under one of the buildings to get to the garden. Here is the entrance off Rue Vaneau. Hidden – wouldn’t you agree?
The park is part play area and part real orchard. There are apple, cherry and hazelnut trees. Along one side is a long pergola covered in grape vines. Along the side of the pergola for its whole length are berry bushes (which looked liked raspberries to me). Just like with the veggies they have planted in St. Lambert Square, I wonder who will get to eat these?
Jardin Catherine-Labouré was originally a part of the working garden of the Filles de la Charité convent. The convent still exists as one of the buildings bordering the park. The park was named Catherine-Labouré who was one of the nuns of the convent.
If you are in the neighborhood, stop by. It is cool to see a park which was a former garden. It is equally cool to be in such a hidden park in the center of Paris, a green space you could go by without even noticing it.