When you think of Paris, French food probably comes to mind. But how often do you think about the places that food, which so heavily relies on fresh, seasonal ingredients, comes from? Take a walk outside (or even on the wildside) with this collection of cool urban farms right in the French capital.
Where: 2 Avenue de la Porte de la Plaine, 75015 Paris
Hours: By appointment
La Ferme de Paris
Enjoy a day in the country without leaving Paris. Hidden in plain sight in the city’s verdant Bois de Vincennes is a twelve-acre working farm, with one half dedicated to animals (goats, cows, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and turkeys), while the other half grows herbs and produce. The focus is on food literacy and sustainable farming education. Farm tours have to be booked in advance, but you can wander on your own, strolling through herb gardens and fields of vegetables, and hiking around large fenced-in fields. Harvest times are extra special. Wednesdays you can catch select farm stands selling produce just feet away from where they grow. Doesn’t get much fresher than that. The farm hosts open air concerts and other activities, so be sure to check their website for schedules.
Where: 1 Route du Pesage, 75012 Paris
Hours: Wednesdays, 1:30-5:00; Saturdays & Sundays, 1:30-6:00
La Ferme du Bonheur (The Happiness Farm)
This sliver of agro-culture sandwiched between U. of Paris Nanterre, the roadway, and towering apartment buildings was grown from the fecund mind of former alt-rocker, actor, author, and sheep herder Roger Des Pres. Yes, there’s a vegetable garden, and Des Pres’ sheep, but it’s more about cultivating culture and connections than carrots and beets. It may not be a farm in the traditional sense, but rather in the philosophical sense.
Picture the theatrical adaptation of the novel “The Man who Planted Trees” as a monologue performed by Des Pres while strolling the farm with his sheep and farm dog, with everyone sharing Thyme Soup and talking at the communal table post-performance. Sharing art, food, and ideas is the mission of the ferme.
Think of a Parisian take on Willem Dafoe’s experimental Performing Garage, but with performance art, staged theater, “Popera,” screenings, poetry raves, techno-raves (with international DJs), meals, farmer’s markets, farm work, classes, and weekly Sunday get-togethers with coffee, tea, talk, and sheep. Partnerships with the likes of The Bubblegum, Parfum: Desert living theater company, Agro Paris Tech school, and ministry of culture, help the ferme grow good stuff – for the mind, body, and soul.
Check the website for its eclectic schedule of events. Don’t miss weekly Sunday rendezvous for coffee, tea, and a walk with the sheep.
Where: 220 Avenue de la République, 92000 Nanterre
Hours: Check website
Contact: 01 47 24 51 24, http://www.lafermedubonheur.fr/
This seventeen thousand square foot green oasis in the nineteenth arrondissement bills itself as a “vegetable garden and cultural third place.” Nestled on the bank of the Canal de l’Ourcq in the Parc de la Villette, the mindful green space offers an alternating jamboree of markets, vintage fairs, yoga classes, garden concerts, art installations, DJs, and food. Savoring Tapas and finger foods from the Animal Kitchen food shack at picnic tables in a vibrant and verdant setting is a great refreshing alt-Paris experience.
Where: 12A Rue Ella Fitzgerald
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 11:30a-10:30p