If the hustle and bustle of Parisian life ever gets too much, spend an afternoon catching your breath in the lush and verdant Bois de Boulogne park in the west of Paris. This 2,100-acre oasis on the edge of the 16th arrondissement is the second largest park in Paris (and about two and a half times the size of New York's Central Park!) With bubbling creeks, calm lakes and seemingly infinite walking paths, it truly is a heavenly getaway.
Bois de Boulogne is a remnant of the ancient Rouvray oak forest (Forêt de Rouvray), where legend has it that William the Conqueror was riding on his horse when he decided to ascend to the throne of England. Noblemen once used the forest as a hunting ground, but Bois de Boulogne was officially designated as a public park in 1852. These days, it's a popular escape into nature (especially during the summer months) and it's where Roland-Garros, the French Open tennis tournament, takes place.
In the centre of Bois de Boulogne you'll find the park's two artificial lakes, Lac Inférieur and Lac Supérieur. Go for a jog around the perimeters or hire a boat and row along the waters of the lakes.
The park is also home to a botanical garden, Parc de Bagatelle, which is frequented by colourful peacocks. And nearby is Jardin Shakespeare, a garden dedicated to the English bard. Keep an eye out for plants and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare's plays, or enjoy a show during the summer at the open-air Théâtre de Verdure.
Fashion lovers will want to pay a visit to Fondation Louis Vuitton, an art museum and cultural centre sponsored by the famed designer label and the LVMH group. This striking building, which reportedly cost $143million to build, is located in the north part of the park and was opened in 2014.
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Bois de Boulogne