Are you eager to see Paris in full bloom? Throughout the months of March and April, thousands of trees across Paris and all over France burst in different shades of white and pink, bathing the land in my favourite colour.
Paris during spring blossom has long been underestimated by the people across the globe until the appearance of Instagram. Since the last couple of years, people start discovering magnificent flower parade that Paris has to offer, so now the city of Love is considered to be one of the top most beautiful cities to visit during cherry bloom or Sakura. Now, particularly from the spring season of 2017, thousands of tourists travel to Paris to view the wonderful spectacle of these white or pink flowers blooming around the masterpieces of Gothic architecture, elegant French castles and vast Parisian parks.
French families also await this magical time of the year. Many of them enjoy the cherry blossom beneath the trees indulging themselves in a picnic with a glass of wine and a box of strawberries.
If you are planning a trip to see famous cherry blossoms in 2018, the most important thing to consider – the time of visit. There are many major locations with a variety of flowers – some have the oldest trees, others the biggest rows of trees, and some are close to historic areas or other sites. You can quickly and easily travel between many locations by public transport, bicycle and railways.
Once you’ve decided on when you are visiting Paris, you will want to get the most out from your cherry blossom experience. Unfortunately, not every location experiences the bloom at the same time.
The blooming time can vary widely based on the weather conditions. The mildest winter climate will influence the earliest blossom. The first blooms to open are usually magnolias (not Sakura but also amazingly beautiful) in mid-March. Wind, rain, and heavy snow like we experienced during February of this year can cause the blossoms to appear later than average, affect the forms and density of the flowers and can lengthen or shorten the blooming season.
Throughout most of Paris, blooming typically occurs in mid-March and till late April but as I explained you may have some serious delays or early blooms because of the weather conditions, so it is very important to predict the right timing for your trip. It’s a pity but, there is no blossom calendar or forecast like it is done for Japanese «hanami» (the tradition of viewing and enjoying the beauty of the cherry blossom) in Sakura season, but the most reliable way to check the blooms is, obviously, Instagram. Scout the recommended Insta stories from Paris, follow some local bloggers and related tags and you won’t miss the blossom as people are eager to share it on their social media networks.
To begin with, the first early blossoms are magnolia trees. One of the biggest spot to see a dozen of magnolias in the very city centre of Paris is Jardin du Palais Royal. The park is located in the middle of the former royal palace that today hosts the Constitutional Council. In the large inner courtyard, you can enjoy the blossom surrounded by a mix of classical architecture with modern art pieces, columns by Daniel Buren, fountains, cafes and antiques shops along with other flora typically blooming in spring (roses, daffodils and many more).
Other places to find magnolia trees include Champs des Mars facing the Eiffel Tower which, probably, offers one of the most spectacular views and a quite the garden Jardin des Combattants Espagnols de la Nueve next to Hotel de Ville. The garden is only open on weekends, but it has a truly charming couple of pink trees and lovely corners to sit and read a book under the blooms. Champs de Mars has always been a worship place for any tourist visiting Paris, so expect big crowds especially during the blossoms.
Almost at the same time, you might be lucky to catch some very first cherry blossom that isn’t that as spectacular as French «cerisier» but very delicate and, unfortunately, fleeting. They mainly bloom in front of the Eiffel Tower, Champs de Mars and the inner garden of Petit Palais.
The biggest and the most breathtaking period for the blooms is, definitely, April. The first big fluffy clouds to open are the ones in Trocadero Gardens offering a picture-perfect view of the Eiffel Tower and famous carousel. The place is also inundated by tourists even from the very early mornings as a lot of visitors come here for photo shootings.
Nevertheless, for me (and I am sure that for almost everybody), the best place to watch the Sakura blossom would be Square Jean XXIII on side of the Notre Dame cathedral. The pinky clouds create a perfect frame around the ensemble of the cathedral giving you even more magical vibes. The place also includes a lot of benches, playgrounds, so it’s a beloved spot of French families and, of course, numerous tourists.
I would also love to include Jardin des Plantes that is not only having the hugest cherry tree in the city but also a lot of other types of blooms, so this place is fun to visit and easier to photograph as the park is very spacious.
If you are able to leave a little bit the city centre and go further, you can enjoy a vast field of daffodils and several long rows of cherry trees in Parc Clichy-Batignolles. Due to its location, it might a better variant for those who would like to have a relaxing moment in a calmer environment.
Last year, I also made the best discovery of the Paris Park Floral located in the Eastern part of the city that become my favourite personal spot. The park features not only dozens of plants and cute animals wandering around in an absolute freedom but the best magnolias I have ever seen astonishing with its gigantic buds and the scale of the branches. They are also blooming nearly at the same time as cherries.
You can also see smaller groups of the trees all over the city like at the famous English bookstore Shakespeare and Company, along with the exits of the metro line 1 Saint Paul, at Champs de Mars and Jardin Tino-Rossi.
These places are in full blooms almost at the same time. But the magic doesn’t end, as close to the end of April, a massive group of cherry blossoms (more than 150 trees!) opens at Parc de Sceaux. When in full bloom, it feels like a true pink fairy tale that was created on purpose to enjoy a picnic with your loved ones under the pink petals of Sakura.
In this article I tried to gather my favourite gems for meditating under cherry blossom but, of course, this guide is not complete. Please, make sure to check the opening hours of each place before your visit and check the blossoms in advance as it varies from one year to another.
Do let me know if you have any personal additions to this list as it would be great to create a complete guide of blossom season in Paris!