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Gardens and parks in Paris (1)

2012-03-14

titul-a.jpgCompared to some other big cities, Paris is literally scattered with greenery and nature. Besides the traditional sycamores and chestnut trees which create the characteristic atmosphere of Parisian boulevards, we can find greenery in parks, gardens and other public spaces. There are plenty of them in Paris. France together with England and Netherlands belong in gardening to the most reknown countries in Europe, and this fact can be noticed in Parisian parks on each step.

Most of the big parks and gardens in Paris were created with the aim of providing a peaceful and quiet place, rather than just using the places which were not suitable for thtitul-b.jpge buildings construction. That’s why there is a certain generosity in them. They are not the places used to get from one point to another, but they are interesting sightseeing points. Local people, besides relaxing and resting, like to practice sports, enjoy their lunch breaks here, during the weekends you can see a lot of families coming with children to play to the parks and gardens. Parks fulfill the function of freedom and escape from the fast rythm of a city civilization. Gardens and parks belong, at least for me, among basic, characteristic and inevitable parts of Paris, as well as the Eiffel tower or Notre-Dame.

Let’s go to have a look to some of the Parisian parks and gardens, with the eyes of a frequent observer and an active participant of many moments happening in them.

 

Tuilleries gardens

Thank to their location they are probably the most famous, most visited green space in Paris (after the park Champs de Mars). The gardens have a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The park used to be a park of the previous Tuilleries palace. Its present location tries tot1.jpg approach to the original one and it was modified during the Louvre reconstruction under the president Mitterrand. In the part closer to Louvre there are many statues from A. Maillol and the animal statues from A. Caïn. Not only for the tourists a frequent attraction is the big sightseeing wheel offering an interesting view, especially when it is located on the Concorde square, and not paralelly to the Rivoli boulevard.

The central part of the gardens is used especially by the tourists. Often you can see here the guys selling the little metal Eiffel tower souvenirs, in summer you can hear the voices of the water sellers, their number increasing when you are approaching Louvre. Compared to other places in Paris, they are not bothering. If you come here more often, you will find out that you see the same faces. The illegal souvenirs sellers have their territory well split.t2.jpg

In the central part of the garden further from Louvre there are several coffee places and refreshment stands. In summer it is pleasant to enjoy the shadow of the trees, until your are covered by a big dust cloud from the wide dusty road.

The border lines of the gardens are used by the joggers for their daily rounds. When the weather is nice it can get difficult to find a traditional green metal chair. The experts know that one type, more inclined and enabling almost lying position, is more comfortable. The local people carry them from the edge of the garden (part closer to the river, where they are also stored.

It is worth recommending to go to the higher corner of the western part of the garden behind the „Orangerie“, with the view on the south part of the Concorde square with the t3.jpgbridge, river, obelisk and the Eiffel tower in the background. My favourite place is also the underpass from the gardens which ends on the river bank at the beginning of the new bridge for pedestrians – Pont de Solférino (1999). An interesting place especially for photographers – a nice combination of lines and shadows of the stairs, bridge and the river bank.

I would like to mention another advice from the edge of the gardens, close to the Carrousel, in front of the refreshment stand with Paul baguettes, there is another down-the-line entrance to the main entrance of Louvre. You do not have to wait for hours in the hot sun close to the pyramid, go through the strict bags control and other security measures. But here as well your entrance, even if it is not so visible, is carefully controlled.

 

Luxembourg gardensl1.jpg

Luxembourg gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) are an important part of the 6th arrondissement. Its name comes from the palace which creates the main dominant point of the gardens, with the seat of the Senate. In spite of the fact that the crowds of tourists from the Latin Quarter and boulevard St. Michel flow in here, the local people are still more numerous in the park.
 
The gardens are visited by the students from the close schools and universities. In the lunch time they are used also by the working people. People come to do jogging, plal2.jpgy tennis or petanque. Often I see different therapeutical groups sitting in circles. Tradition of the Luxembourg gardens are the little sailing boats for children, which can be hired by symbolic fee and the kids navigate them with sticks in the central fountain. For children there is also a big playground, poneys rides and other attractions.
 
In summer they plant in the palms, offering a shadow with nice feeling of a tropical vacation. A team of gardeners daily take care of flowers, bushes, in the edge parts of the park you can find various precious species of trees and plants. The police service is seated in architecturally interesting summer house. Besides many other statues, close to the exit to the Fleurus street there l3.jpgis a small copy of the Statue of Liberty. You can notice also the memorial to the painter E. Delacroix or the statue of Sainte Génèvieve – the saint of Paris.
 
For me personally these gardens belong to the most favourite places, I like to have a pleasant rest here. I would like to mention also ocassional exhibitions of poster photographs on various actual topics on the fence of the Luxembourg gardens from the street de Medicis. An interesting view is also the block of buildings of the Montaigne high school (in the southern part of the Auguste Comte street), which is one of the few in Paris having the classical red roof. The only negative point about the gardens, spoiling the impression, is "high dark tooth" the Montparnasse scyscraper, which is dangerously close :-)
 
Jan Schinko jr., Paristep
 

Preview of picture in folder Paris gardens | Jan Schinko jr.