André-Citroën Park: a garden designed for Parisians

Although most well-known for its iconic tethered helium balloon that indicates the quality of Parisian air, André-Citroën Park is also well worth discovering for its daring juxtaposition of open spaces dotted with romantic gardens that invite the visitor to stroll around and admire this modern-day version of a French-style garden.

Relatively poor in tourist attractions, as if the Eiffel Tower was surrounded by invisible ramparts, the 15th arrondissement is a place where people live and work, but rarely features very high on the list of tourist sites. In this vein, the park was created in 1992 for its inhabitants on the site of the former Citroën car manufacturing factories. The visitor arriving from the city side is greeted by two small amusing outposts, the Black Garden and the White Garden, which form a sort of hyphen between the apartment blocks and the park itself. However it is the vast central lawn that attracts a host of visitors who flock here on fine days to picnic and relax in the sunshine.

Water is omnipresent, whether in the aquatic peristyle (whose 120 jets of water refresh the air and provide entertainment all summer long) or the quietly flowing canal that surrounds the lawn, in homage to the Seine a few metres away, which offers its own visual and pedestrian vista to the lawn (visitors on foot enter by Javel port).

Bewitching theme gardens 

André-Citroën Park is much more than a delightful oasis of greenery in an urban landscape. While its vast lawn, greenhouses, magnolias in glazed houses and water fountains immediately catch the eye, the visitor would do well to explore the outskirts which feature the park’s genuine originality, born out of the combined work of two teams of architects and landscape gardeners whose projects were initially very different. The central lawn is in fact flanked by no less than eight theme gardens offering visitors the chance to indulge in a dreamlike, almost esoteric voyage of discovery.

In the north, six theme gardens were created, each of which was planted according to a colour scheme: blue, green, orange, red, silver and gold, like the black and white gardens, but also associated with a metal, a planet, a day of the week, a relationship with water (rain, fountain, waterfall) and a sense (including the 6th sense). Each of the gardens features an alchemical transmutation of metals, but even those not well versed in such hidden meanings will be entranced by the charm of these small sloping rectangles, criss-crossed with winding paths and dominated by footbridges or small greenhouses. Continuing further, the Jardin en Mouvement somewhat defies description because, as its name suggests, it is constantly changing, depending on the activities and games going on, its regulars and its resident wildlife. We can only advise that you take the time to wander around, get lost, find your way and create your own paths through this voluntarily untamed area, as you enjoy the variety of landscapes and scents, in what is nonetheless quite a small area. Finally, near the Ponant building, the Jardin des Métamorphoses welcomes visitors into a landscape of birch trees and colourful plants laid out on two compartmented hillocks.

Unusual attractions 

In addition to its classical and poetic appeals, André-Citroën Park also offers a wide range of play areas for children and unusual attractions that have contributed to its success with inhabitants from more far-flung neighbourhoods. A tethered helium balloon was installed in 2000 and has remained ever since following its widespread success; it takes visitors up to a height of several hundred metres from where they can admire a splendid view of western Paris, taking in the Seine, Mirabeau and Bir-Hakeim Bridges and of course the Eiffel Tower.

The balloon is also useful to residents of Paris because its colour changes from green to red depending on the air pollution level in the capital. In 2013, the park was chosen as the site for a new sparkling fountain, in the wake of the success of the prototype in Reuilly Garden. Thanks to a water cooling system, coupled with addition of CO2, parched walkers and joggers can now quench their thirst with cool, sparkling water, in line with a new fashion launched by the Paris Water Board.

Useful information

Parc André Citroën - 2, rue Cauchy75 015

Paris Ballon captif - Tél. : 01 44 26 20 00 

The author

Frédéric Moussaïan

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The tourist attractions mentioned

Parc André-Citroën Parc André-Citroën
Parc André-Citroën
The Eiffel Tower The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower