Walk down any Parisian road from mid-March to late-April and you are likely to see a cherry blossom tree in bloom. Among the first to flower are those scattered through the Jardins du Trocadéro, a 10,000m2 landscaped garden. The trees line both sides of the famous Warsaw Fountains, perfectly framing the uninterrupted views of the Eiffel Tower.
In Jardin des Plantes, you will find some of the most diverse selections of cherry blossom trees in the capital, including the white-petalled prunus shirotae, also known as the Mount Fuji Cherry or Snow White, that flowers in April. The garden is also home to the largest cherry blossom tree in Paris. Nicknamed the Pink Whale, it bursts into vibrant colour in the third week of April and typically marks the end of the blossom season.
A lovely cluster can also be found at Square Gabriel Pierné, a serene spot hidden down a backstreet on the Left Bank.
China’s biggest city may be renowned for its giant skyscrapers, but it is also a National Garden City with 2,590km2 of green space – and hundreds of cherry blossom trees. The biggest collection is at Gucun Park in the Baoshan District, where there are more than 12,000 sakura trees of 90 species. Gucun Park hosts a festival from mid-March to mid-April, with themed activities such as cherry blossom photography and poetry competitions.
Some of the first trees to bloom – as early as January – are located in the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden. It has a 550m boulevard featuring bright pink Kawazu-zakura trees. When in full bloom, it is one of the most photographed spots in the city.
Denmark’s capital is abundant with cherry blossom trees and hosts a two-day Sakura Festival each April to celebrate the arrival of spring. This happens at the waterside Langelinie Park – filled with over 200 trees – and features Japanese cultural events, such as traditional dancing and Haiku recitals. You can also get great views of the park’s trees from a canal boat (tours start from the nearby Nyhavn harbour front).
The Bispebjerg Cemetery has one of the city’s most magnificent displays. The 43ha space has the most gorgeous Instagrammable pathways and avenues lined with trees on both sides. When in bloom, they form a long, pink tunnel.
Sønder Boulevard, in Copenhagen’s hip Vesterbro neighbourhood, is home to art galleries, boutique shops and cafés – as well as dozens of cherry blossom trees that burst with pink every April.
While Thailand’s national flower is the striking yellow Cassia Fistula Linn, every year from January to March, Bangkokians flock to the parks to celebrate the city’s own version of sakura – Tabebuia rosea or pink trumpet trees. Easily mistaken for the real deal from afar, the deep pink petals are trumpet-shaped.
Chatuchak Park, one of Bangkok’s oldest state gardens (1975), has a pretty artificial lake with numerous bridges. It is surrounded by over 1,100 Tabebuia rosea and visitors take to the Skywalk at BTS Mo Chit for photos of the scenery below.
For authentic cherry blossom trees, head to the top of the Doi Suthep mountain in Chiang Mai, where wild Himalayan cherry trees are scattered throughout the gardens of the Khun Chang Khian Highland Agriculture Research Centre.
5. New York
With the arrival of spring, cherry blossom trees begin flowering all over New York City. Some of the most striking displays can be seen at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which has a cherry blossom tracker on its website so you will know which trees have bloomed before you visit. The garden hosts a two-day Sakura Matsuri festival every April, which will see over 60 Japanese cultural activities and performances, from taiko drumming to tea ceremonies.
Take the aerial tramway to Roosevelt Island, a strip of land in the middle of the East River, to see the city’s largest single collection of cherry trees – over 600 form a virtual necklace around the island, framing panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline.
Meanwhile, in Queens, the historic Lewis Howard Latimer House Museum – home of African-American inventor Lewis Howard Latimer from 1903 to 1928 – has its own cherry blossom garden that is open for free on selected days during the spring.
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