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Paris Will Finally Let You Have a Little Fun in Public Parks

Bikes, games, picnics, and dogs are finally getting a warmer welcome in the French capital’s famously stringent parks and gardens.
A sunbather in the Tuileries Gardens, a park with a somewhat more relaxed approach than most
A sunbather in the Tuileries Gardens, a park with a somewhat more relaxed approach than mostJean Paul Pellissier/Reuters

Paris’s parks and gardens may be beautiful, but they’ve never been the most easy-going of public spaces.

With tidy gravel paths, rigorously trimmed bushes, and patches of lawn behind wrought iron fencing, the French capital’s public gardens—at least the many smaller ones—tend to present themselves as orderly, somewhat buttoned-up places. You may stroll and sit neatly on benches, but please don’t sprawl on the grass or throw a frisbee.