Discovering the Vallée aux Loups

Outings | A day in Paris | Nature

A haven of greenery two steps away from Paris. 

1_ile_verte-5-large_byespritdefrance.jpgDo you know that in the midst of the Grand Paris, a quarter of an hour by car from Porte d'Orléans and very close to a RER B station, there is a 60-hectare park the marvels of which you will find difficult to discover in just one visit. It is the Hauts de Seine departmental park, more attractively called Vallée aux Loups, which includes the Arboretum, l’Ile Verte, the park of Châteaubriand’s house and a wooded park. This valley was part of the domain of Louis XIV’s Secretary of state, Colbert, when he settled in Sceaux in 1670. We suggest that you start by visiting the 13-hectare Arboretum, which harbours unexpected riches: a pretty 18th century pleasure palace near a lake and a whole estate of remarkable trees, the most famous of which is the gigantic weeping blue cedar reproduced in all botanical books, accompanied by a myrsine oak, chestnut trees and a collection of alders. You will certainly admire the collection of convolvulaceae (climbing plants of bright and varied colors) planted by the botanist Patrick Blanc and then head for the bonsai greenhouse0910or0491069_1140x500px_byespritdefrance.jpgExiting on the upper part of the Arboretum, you will face the entrance to Chateaubriand's house, who indeed had a charming retreat built there. If the house is not yet re-open to visitors, you can nonetheless take a meal break in the charming adjoining tea room, Les Thés brillants, and enjoy the beauty of the park set up by the writer himself with essences of trees brought back from his distant jouneys, such as cedars from Lebanon or a bald cypress from Louisiana. But you cannot leave the domain without discovering the adjoining Ile Verte (Green Island). Around a house that belonged to the playwright Jules Barbier in the 19th century before becoming the painter Jean Fautrier’s home a century later, you will get immersed into a garden with abundant vegetation. This intimate and bucolic garden is an unexpected green setting, which seems almost abandoned to wilderness, when in fact it has been carefully tamed and structured to make it a completely preserved place, with a very particular atmosphere. This walk, a true mosaic of diverse botanical atmospheres, is a delight during the summer period.