The Original High Line: La Promenade Plantée in Paris

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Celebrate Bastille Day with a virtual trip to the elevated railway-turned-park that inspired the New York City green destination

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New York's City's hugely successful and justly celebrated High Line wasn't the first elevated urban railroad bed to be converted into a much-loved linear park. Today, as we mark the national holiday of France, let's also pay tribute to the elevated park in Paris that NYC planning director Amanda Burden acknowledges as the model for the High Line: la Promenade Plantée in Paris.

Fittingly for today, the Promenade runs from just east of the Place de la Bastille some 2.9 miles through the 12th arrondissement to the Peripherique highway. From its Wikipedia entry:

The Promenade Plantée is built on the former right-of-way of the Vincennes railway line, which linked the Bastille station to Verneuil-l'Étang beginning in 1859, passing through Vincennes.  It ceased operation on December 14, 1969; route of la Promenade Plantee (via Greenstays in France)part of the line was integrated into Line A of the RER [regional commuter rail], while the Paris-Vincennes was completely abandoned.

Beginning in the 1980s, the area was renovated. In 1984, the Bastille station was demolished to permit construction of the Opéra Bastille. The Reuilly area was designed in 1986; it incorporated the old commercial rail depot of Reuilly into a group of park areas. The Promenade Plantée was put into place at the same time in order to reuse the rest of the abandoned line between the Bastille and the old Montempoivre gate to the city. Landscaper Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux designed the parkway, and it was inaugurated in 1993.  The arcades of the Viaduc des Arts [artisan studios and shops below the park] were renovated in 1989, as was the new square Charles-Péguy.

Enjoy the photos:

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It was the only urban elevated rail-bed-turned-park in the world until the High Line opened.

Vive la France et vive la Promenade!



This post also appears on NRDC's Switchboard.
Images (top to bottom): sutefanii/flickr, Fiona Cullinen/flickr, Peter Pearson/flickr, besopha/flickr, Eric Bas/flickr, Payton Chung/flickr, besopha/flickr

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Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. More

Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. He is the author or co-author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), and Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). In 2009, Kaid was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com, and he was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. He blogs at NRDC's Switchboard.
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