In stark contrast to the promise of its name, the Champs-Elysées can be hell on earth for pedestrians. Those who’ve come to see the Arc de Triomphe, only to be swallowed up by the unnavigable mess of traffic and window shoppers, may be surprised to discover that the avenue was still surrounded by parkland as recently as a century ago. Patches of landscaped greenery still flank it on either side, of which the clandestine Jardin de la Nouvelle France (formerly Jardin de la Vallée Suisse) is doubtless the prettiest corner. Laid out in preparation for the 1900 World Fair, it reflects the Orientalist fad of the time: a picturesque bridge arches over a carefully manicured rock garden, complete with artificial pond. At 1.7 acres it’s small, but astonishingly quiet given its proximity to the city’s nastiest artery; its irregular design also makes for a refreshing break from the obsessively geometrical gardens of which the French are so fond.
Find the white marble statue by Alfred de Musset, situated near the intersection between avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt and Cours la Reine, and seek out the broken flight of steps to its right. They’ll lead you down into this haven of tranquillity – a real Elysium.
|Venue name:||Jardin de la Nouvelle France|
Corner of avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt and Cours la Reine
|Opening hours:||Always open|
|Transport:||Métro: Champs-Elysées - Clemenceau (Lines 1, 13)|