The Iconic Green Chairs of Paris Parks

July 21, 2024

These days, Saturday mornings are for writing. But first, coffee.

I roll out of bed, turn on the kettle, sleepily spoon out grounds into my french press, and pull out my mug. But not just any mug- Saturday mornings call for my Green Chair mug.

What is a Green Chair mug, you ask? Why it is this little coffee cup I found on the clearance corner at TJ Maxx soon after I moved back from Paris that made me cry big, fat, ugly nostalgic tears the moment I laid eyes on it.

Here she is! Now I start my Saturdays with a blog session fueled by coffee in the green chair mug.

Those green chairs are a bright symbol of all things publicly Parisian, and just seeing them transports me back to many an afternoon reading a book in the Tuileries or sunbathing by the Luxembourg fountain.

I could hear the dull, scraping noise as tourists or Parisian teens would drag a chair or two across the garden’s gravel path so everyone in their party could have a seat. Sometimes this was impossible- every single green chair tends to be taken on pretty summer days in the Luxembourg Gardens, even with many couples sharing a chair.

Who knew a chair could be so heavily laced with nostalgia?

But it’s not just me! The green chairs of Paris have become a true style icon.

How the green chairs in Paris parks became iconic

The brightly-painted green chairs that can be found in the gardens of Luxembourg, the Tuileries, and Palais-Royal have been around since 1923, when the Paris Parks Department came up with this new design and began placing these bright, sturdy metal chairs throughout the different gardens. Though never chained down or protected in any way, their heavy frames and bright coloring dissuaded locals from removing chairs from the proper place in the parks; thus the City has stuck with this design for over a century.

Green chair Tuileries Garden
If you manage to snag a green chair in the Tuileries Garden, don’t give it up!

What started as practical design has turned iconic! Fermob, the French furniture design company, not only continues to produce these chairs for the City of Paris, but has created the public Luxembourg Collection, where you can order the same chair design in 24 colors for $1,200 a pop. Today, it is one of their most popular pieces and what they call “an expression of French culture in furniture form.”

So obviously, I bought the mug.

And when you visit Paris, be sure to partake in the very Parisian tradition of sitting, reading, or napping in one of these green beauties between visiting the Louvre or rummaging through bookstores in the Latin Quarter.

Where to find the green park chairs in Paris

Luxembourg Gardens

Whether you’re looking to read a book and daydream on your own or meet up with friends on a summer day, doing so in the green chairs at the Luxembourg Gardens offers a quintessentially Parisian experience. Snag a chair facing the  Palace, or maybe the Grand Bassin so you can watch Parisian children sail their miniature boats. I personally like to sit near the Medici Fountain, especially in the spring and fall,  as reclining in a green chair offers the perfect vantage point to look across the park while listening to the soothing sound of flowing water.

Day or night, you’ll find the green chairs scattered around the parks, filled with Parisians and tourists

Jardin des Tuileries

This may offend some Parisians, but I think of the Tuileries Gardens as the Central Park of Paris. The Tuileries offer a peaceful escape in the heart of Paris, just to the west of the Louvre. No hotdog or pretzel stands here, but the carts selling croissants and sandwiches on the west side stays busy. You’ll find the iconic green chairs scattered throughout the gardens and clustered around the fountains along either side of the main pathway. Park staff keep do their best to keep some of them strategically placed under the shade of chestnut trees and along gravel pathways to  provide perfect spots for relaxation and people-watching. You might choose to sunbathe by the octagonal Grand Bassin or read near the sculpted hedges and flower beds. I generally prefer to scout a chair out along the Place de la Concorde end – one of my favorite spots in all of Paris to picnic and watch the sunset.

Securing a green chair o the east end of the Tuileries to picnic and watch the sun set is one of my favorite Parisian hobbies

Jardin du Palais-Royal

Emily and Mindy made a certain park bench in Palais-Royal especially famous, but there are plenty of green chair options at your disposal as well. As you wander through the garden’s tree-lined pathways, you’ll find the iconic green chairs scattered throughout, and more clustered around the central fountain. The garden’s slightly hidden location makes it a popular lunch break spot for Parisians working in the wealthy Palais & Bourse neighborhoods, so come prepared to share your space and watch your chair – especially in the summer.

Locals enjoying the sun at lunch time in the gardens of Palais Royale

So there you have it, add it to the Paris travel itinerary. Spending an entire afternoon lounging in a green chair in one of these Parisian parks is a longtime local experience that will have you feeling relaxed, and dare I say, a little more French.

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