Bucolic walk from Balard to Montsouris
15th and 14th arrondissement
If you never lived in Paris and visited the city as a tourist only, chances are that you never set foot in the 15th arrondissement. As a resident there for almost a year now, I have learnt to appreciate some of its hidden treasures. Among them, I especially love the Petite Ceinture, a former double-track railway line that used to run around Paris but has been disused since 1934. The rails are today invaded by nature with a rich biodiversity. In 2007, a first section was opened to the public in the 16th arrondissement, between Porte d'Auteuil and La Muette metro station. Since then, new sections have been regularly added, including one in the 15th arrondissement, with various access points at 99 rue Oliver de Serres, Place Balard, 397 ter-399 rue de Vaugirard, 82 rue Desnouettes or place Robert Guillemard.
In this ecological corridor, it feels like you are out of the city. If you start your walk at Place Balard, you will see on your way a rich ecosystem (220 species of plants and animals live or walk between Parc André-Citroën and Parc Georges-Brassens), but also clay tennis courts, beautiful architect houses and colourful graffiti. The path alternates elevated and buried views. You will walk under several bridges until you reach your final destination in the 14th arrondissement, where the Petite Ceinture stops. But the city continues to develop the Petite Ceinture step by step, so keep an eye on further developments.
Once you get in the 14th arrondissement, don’t miss the opportunity to discover the charming Parc Montsouris - one of my favorites in the city; think less polished and more cluttered than Jardin du Luxembourg or The Tuileries.There are also the extraordinary houses of the Cité florale, Square de Montsouris and the lesser known Cité Seurat. You will end your day dreaming of a beautiful house covered by glycine and virginia creeper.