There Was a 'High Line' Before the Famous Elevated Park in NYC



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 former 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; 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:






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!

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.

Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Huffington Post and in other national media.  Kaid’s latest book is People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities.

This article was originally published on NRDC's Switchboard blog on July 14, 2011.

Related posts: