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Biodiversity

La Villette – cultivating biodiversity

La Villette supports diversity in all its forms. This includes natural landscapes, which are an asset that must be explored and enriched.

The changing face of an urban cultural park

Protecting flora and fauna is a key issue in urban areas. This is why La Villette has implemented its own Agenda 21, confirming its commitment to ecological excellence and sustainable development. La Villette’s 35 hectares of outdoor areas are home to a wide range of animal and plant species.

Entomological inventories have identified four categories of insects that play remarkable roles in ecosystem functioning. In 2012, 155 kinds of aquatic, soil, flower-visiting and saproxylic insects were observed in the park. In 2013, 50 new species were discovered, including rare specimens such as the Khapra beetle, the Cyprus jewel beetle and the hornet moth.

The Centre ornithologique d’Île-de-France (Île-de-France ornithological centre) has recorded 49 categories of birds. Its most recent inventory underlines the positive impact of new nest boxes installed around the park. Two new specimens have been detected in the park: the Eurasian sparrowhawk and the chaffinch.

A plant inventory recorded 637 plant varieties, one of which was in a vegetative state: Filipendula vulgaris. The park’s collection of trees includes over 3,001 specimens, including Ginkgo biloba, tulip trees, Chinese dogwood and white fir.

Preserving biodiversity

  • 5,000m² of flowering meadows
  • 3,000m² of seasonal gardens
  • 500 linear metres of sloping terrain
  • 37 nest boxes for birds and 5 for bats
  • 5 insect hotels

Environmentally friendly management

La Villette’s commitment to biodiversity is reflected in the park’s environmentally friendly approach to everyday management. To maintain green spaces, only organic phytosanitary products are used. Where possible, the park uses perennials and local flowering plant species.

La Villette also encourages environmentally friendly modes of transport within the park. A temporary floating bridge allows visitors to cross the Canal de l’Ourcq between May and September. A cycle path runs along the Canal de l’Ourcq. There are bike channels and hooks throughout the park.

An abundance of projects

Many initiatives have been launched to make biodiversity one of the park’s main focuses. An area of around 15,000m2 east of the Halle aux Cuirs and around the Cité Administrative will be transformed into green spaces.

Over 500m of biodiversity hedges have been planted. A further 1,800m2 of slopes and 5,000m2 of flowering meadows have been planted. The seasonal gardens have been extended, and now cover 3,000m2. They are home to a range of ecosystems (copses, fallow areas, ponds, dry stone walls, etc.). Their spontaneous and cultivated vegetation is the subject of educational workshops raising awareness of biodiversity.

The park’s future projects include developing a green corridor alongside the Cinematic Promenade and planting an orchard of old and local fruit tree varieties next to the tramline.

Commitments by La Villette

La Villette has been rewarded for its environmental efforts over the years.

  • 2010: EVE® standard Ecocert awarded the seasonal gardens the EVE® standard for ecological/eco-friendly areas.
  • 2012: Oasis Nature® label Hubert Reeves’s non-profit organisation Humanité et Biodiversité awarded the park the Oasis Nature® label.
  • 2013: Prestadd® label La Villette was awarded the Prestadd® label, which covers several fields, including the environment. This label is awarded to performing arts organisations whose missions take biodiversity – amongst other considerations – into account.

Urban biodiversity : a joint challenge

Urban densification creates challenges for preserving biodiversity in cities. Protecting biodiversity – through pollination, soil maintenance and the regulation of air quality – is a local public policy issue.

This is why La Villette hosted a conference on biodiversity and urban policies in 2013. Following these discussions, La Villette and the Seine-Saint-Denis region signed a green belt protocol supporting cooperative initiatives in the field of urban biodiversity.