The Parc de la Villette is in the far northeast corner of Paris. It is a 55-hectare park with 35 hectares of lawns and gardens, on the site of the former slaughterhouses of la Villette. They say this is now the largest green space in Paris, and also “a laboratory of cultural democratization where art and society hold a dialogue.”
Two major museums, one for science and one for music, are embedded in the park, along with the Philharmonie de Paris and the Zenith concert hall, two cabarets, two theaters, a pony club and an organization called G.E.R.M., which has nothing to do with germs but is devoted to the study of “Globalisations”, by which they mean “all cultural, social, economic and political processes which are circulated at world scale, despite national, geographic, technological and linguistic barriers.” (As opposed to the more commonly used singular form “globalisation”, which they say merely takes the economic side into account.)
This park is now a real pleasure to cycle to since bike lanes and bus-bike lanes were built along the busiest parts of the Avenue Jean Jaurès at the beginning of the 21st century, and more recently along the Avenue de Flandre.
The Grande Halle de la Villette was built in the 19th century as a slaughterhouse, and in 1985 was turned into an all-purpose space for exhibitions and trade fairs.
The information center is at the south entrance to the park, just off of Avenue Jean Jaurès.
This fountain is also at the south entrance to the park. The building in the background is the Cité de la Musique aka Philharmonie 2.
My photos in this post are from 2006 and 2015. I revised the text in 2020.
See more posts on the 19th arrondissement of Paris.
8 thoughts on “Parc de la Villette”
This park looks great and appears to be doing a worthwhile job at the same time
Many years ago we visited the Cité de la Musique and loved it with the interactive exhibits. Afterwards we walked past the old iron market and rested in the funny metal twirling sculpture chairs before exploring all the fun sculptures while walking to the Canal de l’Ourcq. We didn’t cross the canal but I did get a couple photos of the Geode from our side. Someday we’ll go back and visit the Geode. I’d love to visit the Philharmonie de Paris. It wasn’t there when we visited the park. I’ve seen videos and it looks amazing. Love to hear a concert there. You’re lucky you are so close and can visit often.
Well, yes, but at present most travel is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of this year I booked two visits to Paris, for April and July (trains, hotels and operas), but had to cancel them both because of the virus. I’m still hoping for next year.
I’ve been at Parc de la Villette in passing, but I can acknowledge that it’s a distinctive one from the classic structures of those in the heart of Paris. I’d love to return and spent more time there!
Yes, it’s very different from the traditional parks.
Interesting place, adding to my future travel list.
Not a part of Paris I’ve ever visited – your posts often make realise how much I still have to explore there, once we can visit again
Yes, the Parc de la Villette is quite Off the Beaten Path, as we used to say on VT. But some claim it will be the geographical center of Greater Paris, whatever that might turn out to be.