Jardin Anne Frank: An idyllic Paris garden with a ‘remarkable tree’

Slow Paris

Walking across Centre Pompidou is a visual and sensory experience in itself, its raw architectural tubes jutting out to the streets in a controlled chaotic way. Love it or hate it, it is arresting. Close by, Rue Beaubourg, is a very busy street, alive with the hip Marais crowds spilling over towards the Seine or on the way to the hip bars in Republique.

On this busy street, 14 Impasse Berthaud looks like a nondescript alleyway. At first, one might think it leads to one of the many side streets towards the heart of Marais, filled with bars and restaurants or cool vintage stores. However, even if there are a couple of bars here, the tiny street actually leads to a charming dead-end, Jardin Anne Frank.

The small garden is a welcome patch of greenery, surrounded on all sides by tall Haussmanian buildings. It’s amazing the solitude that just 150 meters away from the street can get you in Paris. Jardin Anne Frank is very much a hidden gem, quiet literally tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the busy Paris streets.

However, I did not just run into this garden by accident. For me, it was a very deliberate visit. I am working on a project to document all the remarkable trees in Paris (and hopefully, one day, all over France itself), and I was there on a mission. I went there to see the tree planted in memory of Anne Frank. It is categorised in the list of arbres remarquables or ‘remarkable trees’ of Paris. Yes, just like ‘remarkable gardens in France,’ there exists such an official list for trees too. I will be writing more about this list in my future posts. So stay tuned for that.

A garden in memory of Anne Frank

As is evident from the name, this oasis of greenery pays tribute to Anne Frank (1929-1945). Anne Frank was a Jewish girl born in Germany. When the Nazis rose to power, her family fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution. When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, the Franks had to go into hiding in a secret annex above her father’s office.

For over 2 years, Anne chronicled her experiences and thoughts in her now-famous diary, posthumously published under the name The Diary of a Young Girl. Tragically, the family was discovered in 1944 and sent to concentration camps. Anne died in Bergen-Belsen at age 16.

Her diary recounts not only her everyday experiences under terrible circumstances but also captures the joys and annoyances of a teenager. Most of all, her words gives a window into the darkness of that period, inviting readers to reflect on grave injustices and oppressions. But even amidst the misery, Frank always chose to see the beauty. Her diary remains a testament to the indelible spirit of humanity and resilience even in the toughest of times.

View of Centre Pompidou from Jardin Anne Frank
View of Centre Pompidou from Jardin Anne Frank. Photo by Pronoti

An address with one of Paris’ arbres remarquables or ‘remarkable trees’

On June 20, 2007, a very special tree was planted in Jardin Anne Frank, in memory of Frank. The scientific name for the tree is Aesculus hippocastanum, while it is commonly called horsechestnut. In French, the name of this tree is Marronnier d’Inde. These trees have gorgeous pink-white flowers which bloom in May.

There is a very poignant connection between Anne Frank and chestnut trees. In her diary, she often wrote about a chestnut tree which was visible from the attic where her family hid. It was one of the few joys of the natural world she was afforded and could still enjoy. The tree was a source of comfort and inspiration for the young girl during her time in hiding.

In her diary, she wrote about watching the tree change with the seasons, finding solace in its beauty and resilience. The chestnut tree, thus became a symbol of hope for Anne. This is why chestnut trees have been planted in memory of Anne Frank, in several parts of the world.

The tree planted in Jardin Anne Frank, Paris in memory of Anne, was done from a graft of the very same tree she used to look at from her window. As you can see from the photo, the tree been growing big and sturdy.

A horse chestnut tree in a Paris garden
The chestnut tree planted in memory of Anne Frank. Photo by Pronoti

Visiting the Anne Frank Garden: What to expect

The Jardin Anne Frank has an ecojardin label. This label implies that the garden management commits to following practices that are considered good for the ecology.

The layout of Jardin Anne Frank can be divided into three parts. First, there is the contemporary garden with leafy trees and plants. This also has several sculptures dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust. This section, close to the entrance of the garden is also where you can find the tree dedicated to Anne Frank.

Then you enter a more historic part of the garden. This open area surrounds a central concrete plot, which dates back to the 17th century. In fact, the garden used to be part of the garden of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, which today houses the Museum of Art and History of Judaism (MAHJ).

All around it, are lush grass, that’s just perfect to lay and sunbath on. Several benches are strewn around the garden too. High walls surround the gardens in some sections, which are covered with blooming climbers, adding both greenery and colours to the beige walls.

A semi-circle shaped walkway covered with green wrought-iron arbour adds a stunning visual impact to the garden. Rose bushes cover these elegant paths. Really, it’s difficult not to walk through one of these walkways and feel transported by the beauty of plants and blooms.

A fantastic site to enjoy cherry blossoms in Paris

Then, walking through a walled part of the garden, you reach the third section. This part of the garden has been designed as an orchard with apple and cherry trees, and lush lawn beds. Beyond this, is a charming community garden. This is not open to visitors. The whole area of Jardin Anne Frank is approximately about 2,200 m².  

When I visited Jardin Anne Frank this April, the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom.  I think it is definitely one of the prettiest patch of cherry blossom trees in Paris.

However, the garden management had closed off the lawn beds under the cherry blossom trees. So forget about having any hanami-themed picnics under the cherry blossom trees. However, this place is a still worth a detour for its tranquil mood and slow-life charm.

This section also has a play area for kids, making it an ideal place for families to hang out too.

Blooming cherry blossom trees at Jardin Anne Frank, with a couple of Parisians enjoying themselves
Blooming cherry blossom trees at Jardin Anne Frank. Photo by Pronoti


Jardin Anne Frank

14 impasse Berthaud, Le Marais – 75003 Paris

Leave a Comment