Promenade des Petits Ponts in Chevreuse, France

Promenade des Petits Ponts

Through the village of Chevreuse runs a tiny offshoot of the Yvette river, gently traversing timeworn cottages, ancient wash-houses, and a medieval tannery. There are 22 “petits ponts,” “little bridges,” that span the river, crossing various pathways. 

A popular walk for locals and visitors, this promenade is hidden behind high fences sandwiched between the backs (or fronts) of perennial houses and a modern car park. Perhaps the best times of the year to visit are during the spring, when the blossoms and jonquils perform their brief but beautiful annual display, and during the summer, when the hydrangeas cascade over the tiny bridges. 

The walk is not long, less than a kilometer and perfect for a Sunday stroll. When visitors cross the canal there is also a chance to explore the tannery building, which made Chevreuse its fortune for many centuries. It’s now used as an exhibition hall.

The 11th-century Château de la Madeleine perches on a hill above the village, and there’s a perfect picture to be taken of the castle and the church spire. There’s much to see in the Valley of the Chevreuse, only a short distance from Paris.