5 Favorite Parisian Parks: A Tribute to its Beauty, Vibrancy, and Resiliency

Luxembourg Gardens-Paris
Luxembourg Gardens-Paris

Luxembourg Gardens-Paris

Source of Photo: Wikimedia

Since I first learned of the attacks in Paris on Friday night, I’ve been unable to sit and write the article that I had planned out.

Rather, I’ve chosen to allow my memory to stroll through the times I visited Paris and re-live the vibrancy, culture, and pure beauty of this extraordinary city.

I remember the times when my kids were young and we would walk down the Quai du Louvre where chickens and rabbits were sold by vendors. Or stumbling upon an outdoor plant market in the center of the city, marveling at all of the outstanding specimens, and wishing that I could somehow stash them in a large suitcase and return with me to my Philadelphia garden.

Any one who has spent time in Paris not only knows that it’s one of the best walking cities in the world but that it’s also a city filled with parks, gardens and trees.

Here are 5 of my favorites Parisian gardens:

One of the most famous of its gardens, Jardin du Luxembourg, (The Luxembourg Gardens), is situated on 25 hectares of land, largely made up of a “green parterre of gravel and lawn populated with statues and centred on a large octagonal basin of water, with a central jet of water; in it children sail model boats. The garden is known as a place to relax and/or spend time together as a family. The gardens include a large fenced-in playground for young children and their parents and a vintage carousel. In addition, free musical performances are presented in a gazebo on the grounds and there is a small cafe restaurant nearby, under the trees, with both indoor and outdoor seating from which many people enjoy the music over a glass of wine.” Source: wikipedia


Photo Source: Wikimedia

I remember many a time going to the outdoor market on Rue de Bac to buy some cheese, baguettes, drinks and mouthwatering desserts. We could spend hours just walking, sitting, and observing. And when our kids were young, it was a perfect place for them to around and let loose. I said way back when that I wish we had a place like this in the states. To this day, I think that Bryant Park (which I’ve written an article about), although much smaller in scope, feels the most like a Parisian park than any other I’ve experienced.

Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden in France. Situated in the 5th arrondissement on the Left Bank and covers 28 hectares, the garden was created in 1626 under the name of “Jardin du Roi” (Garden of the King). The garden features historic glasshouses, a maze (le labyrinthe), a small zoo and a beautiful rose garden.

Jardin des plantes

Photo courtesy of: Jardin des Plantes

Three hectares are devoted to horticultural displays and 4500 plants are arranged by family on one hectare. It also consists of world-renowned Alpine garden with 3000 species, and indoor Mexican and Australian hothouses filled with non-native French specimens and a large Art Deco Winter Garden.

The largest public park in Paris, Bois de Vincennes was developed between 1855 and 1866 under Emperor Napoleon III. It covers an area of 995 hectares (2,459 acres). It occupies 10% of the total area of the city: To put it in perspective, it’s 3 times larger than Central Park.

On its ground is Parc floral de Paris, created in 1969. This 31 acre garden is planted up with hundreds of varieties of flowers, and amazingly includes 650 varieties of iris. Not surprisingly, it has 20 pavilions, an exhibit hall, and a magnificent sculpture garden (which I love!) filled with works of international artists. The park has numerous play areas for children, including a mini golf course like a miniature version of the city, with each of the 18 holes representing a Parisian monument (how cool is that!) It also is home to several free events during the  summer such as Paris Jazz Festival, Pestacles, and Festival Classique au Vert as well as hosting annual horticultural events.

Parc Floral de Paris

Photo source: Wikimedia

Cimetière du Père Lachaise is the most visited cemetery in Paris. If you haven’t been yourself, you’ve heard stories of how visitors make a special trip there to visit the grace of Jim Morrison. But what is not well known about this cemetery is that it has a 44 acre sculpture garden, is known as a ‘garden cemetery’ and has been written up as one of the favorite green spaces of Parisians.

It’s impossible to visit Paris and not stroll the Jardin des Tuileries.

7336108078_8c059e4d7b_b.jpg-Tulieres Garden

Photo source: LisaArtDesign from Flickr

Located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, it’s been a popular walkway since it opened to the public in the 16th century. The gardener of King Louis XIV, the famous Andre Le Notre, re-designed them in 1664 in the French formal garden style with terraces and central vistas. It’s a wonderful place to stop and relax your feet before heading in either direction. This happened to me many times after I had walked hours and just couldn’t make it back to the hotel without sitting for awhile. And it’s great fun if you happen to visit from June through August when the Fetes des Tulieries is open. It consists of over 60 attractions and rides: My kids used to love going on the old carousel ride.  And of course, the refreshments are sinful.

I just want to note that although I feel awkward writing about the subject of gardens in Paris today, it’s my way of honoring those whose lives have been brutally cut short as well as paying respects to the citizens of Paris.

Please share any comments you want. All will be appreciated.

from Gardening Gone Wild http://gardeninggonewild.com/?p=29417


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