Parks, Gardens, & Squares, Paris
Favorite thing: During one of my many visits to Paris I decided to wander around and explore the Luxembourg Gardens. Just outside the main gates was a large photo exhibit with some really interesting and moving photos.
The Jardins du Luxembourg are my favored gardens in Paris because they combine with such a perfection of trees, flowers, water basins, statues, fountain and an elegant palace.
First there is an abundance of flowers. It's a private garden belonging to the French Senate, but open to the public and the French Senators apparently like flowers.
It's also children-friendly thanks to the sailing boats on hire at the central pond, about 50 m wide, called the Grand Bassin. It is student friendly as there are a lot of seats where students from the nearby Sorbonne can study. There is less sound of traffic than at the Tuileries gardens.
Amateurs of art and history are pleased to find here 106 statues representing French artists and personalities, allegories and mythology subjects, steles, monuments, animals.
The cherry on the cake is the Palace du Luxembourg a very beautiful architectural unit which owes its name to the mansion belonging to François of Luxembourg which occupied the site in the 16th century. The estate was bought by Marie de Medici, regent of France. She had a new palace build in 1625 by architect Salomon de Brosse drawing inspiration from the Pitti palace in Florence.
From her time dates the romantic Medici fountain. The fountain is in the shadow of trees so that the water of the basin is dark like a mercury mirror.
One thing I noticed on this trip was how there seemed to be a little park or garden or square right in the vicinity of almost every major tourist attraction. Some are tiny, little peaceful spots away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Some are more elaborate than others, most have a set of benches and a fountain. Others had play equipment for children. I remember seeing the little park next to the Musee de Cluny and was wondering how the museum could permit people to just lay out in their gardens enjoying the sunny day.
Take a break in these little parks, they are wonderful little places
The park in front and at the back of the Biron hotel -Musée Rodin is one of my preferred green places in Paris. I am not alone to feel so when I see Parisians installed for their midday pose on the comfortable seats located at the back of the ornamental pond.
It's quiet because the entry to the garden is not free (it costs 1 € but there exists a yearly subscription for 15€).
The garden, decorated with rose trees, between the Varenne street and the Biron Hotel, comprises three of the most known works of the sculptor Rodin.
On the side of the boulevard des Invalides stands the famous “Thinker-Penseur” besieged by all the photographers. It is the most prized souvenir's photo because here one finds the original of the twenty mouldings of the sculpture distributed in the museums of planet. Note that the "Thinker" presses his right elbow on his left knee. Nice for the photos is the background with the Tour Eiffel and the Dôme des Invalides.
Near the Varenne street stands the group of the “The Burghers of Calais - Bourgeois de Calais”; on the left stands that fantastic work called the “The Gates of Hell - Porte de l'Enfer".
Under the trees you will find 25 individual statues like this "Jacques de Wissant" from the “Burghers of Calais" group.
My favoured part of the garden is the pond with in the middle the remarkable sculpture of the count “Ugolin”. Remember your lecture of Dante's “Divine comedy” with Ugolin, walled up with his sons in the prison which will become their tomb, and who starving ends up eating his dead children.
With no transition, for those who might be hungry, I like to mention here the pleasant cafeteria in the garden. (re. my tip: Cafétéria le Jardin de Varenne
Garden open: Each day, closed on Monday.
1/04 - 30/09 from 9.30 till 18.45 h
1/10 - 31/03 from 10.00 till 17.45 h
Entry price garden: 1€
Musée Rodin - Jardin, 79 rue de Varenne, Paris 7e
Fondest memory: Luxembourg Garden is a wonderful place for a romantic stroll and I couldn’t imagine, even in winter it was a reason of inspiration. Having a coffee and croissant, sitting and relaxing. It is one of the parks , where you can get hold of one of many chairs and watch the world go by. It is really a masterpiece.
The main picture of this tip is VERY old, but the gardens still look pretty much the same as you may see in the subsequent pictures (taken in 2011).
This is one of my favorite parks in Paris, even though you have to go a bit off the beaten path to visit it. It's located a bit south from the Quartier Latin area, but if you want to spend a nice relaxing time and take advantage of the nice weather (which we didn't have much of, so we wanted to make the most out of it), this is a nice place to spend a while reading, listening to music or just watching the flowers, birds and people around. There are usually free chairs to sit and relax (as you aren't supposed to lie on the grass) or you can also walk around for a while. There's a part of the park which isn't so nice where some people gather to play chess. But the nicest area is the one near the fountain.
Fondest memory: I came here for the first time with my family, and this time I thought I had to show this nice place to my hubby. He liked it very much too.
If you consider, how many sightseeing you should visit, then there is no wonder, tourism is the city's biggest industry, with more than 25 million visitors annually.
To the north is Montmartre and the church of Sacré Coeur contrasted with the exotic area of Pigalle red light district.
To the south is Montparnasse, home to many artistic movements of the last couple of centuries.
To the west is the Bois de Boulogne offering romantic views of waterfalls, majestic trees, an open-air Shakespeare theater and zoo.
To the east, the Bois de Vincennes - Paris' Lungs
In the very center are all the wonderful must-sees: the Louvre and D'Orsay museums; the Eiffel Tower; Notre Dame Cathedral; Place des Vosges; Place Vendôme; Place de la Concorde; the view up the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe; the Jardin des Tuileries, the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Favorite thing: My fondest memory from the trip to Paris was the breathtaking beauty of the greenery around. Perhaps I was just in the right time of the year there or perhaps that's so typical of the beautiful city. All around there were parks, gardens and trees and I loved to be there.
As you see, it is loved by parisians. This picture is taked around 5PM on a weekend day...
Fondest memory: I liked the contrast of the buildings surrounding the square and the grass...It is almost possible to imagine, how quiet the square during old times. It was designed by Henry IV and completed in 1612.
The Place Vendôme has been famous for its fashionable and deluxe hotels: The Hôtel Ritz Paris, which is the Ritz, the Park Hyatt Vendôme, and the Bristol , which Edward VII preferred, now called the Vendôme. Many famous dress designers have had their salons in the square as well as the street the leads to it from The Opera. Since 1718, the Ministry of Justice, also known as the "Chancellerie", is located at the Hotel de Bourvallais located at numbers 11 and 13. Right on the other side of the Place, number 14 houses the Paris office of JP Morgan, the investment bank.
Originally the Place was accessible by a single street and was quiet.
It was a typical first day in Europe for us...flew all night, slept practically not at all, it's 8:00 am here but our bodies insist it's 3:00 am and...way too early. Of course, our room won't be ready until the afternoon so the best we can do is drop off our luggage, find some coffee and see what is nearby. Happily we were staying in le Marais and very close to Place des Vosges.
We had walked around the square and its immediate alleys and adjoining streets for as long as we could physically endure. Finally, we just needed to sit and rest. We (most particularly me) trudged to the center of the square, walked through the sand walkways and turned our shoes into dust. We found our way to an available and, as it turns out, ubiquitous Paris bench. While probably the most uncomfortable bench I had ever encountered, it felt perfect.
Fondest memory: Intro Photo: The young woman in the photo seemed equally satisfied to have the cast iron support in the middle of her bare back and her duffel bag in the dust.
Photo 2: At this moment, a more idyllic stop would have been difficult to imagine. With it's shady lanes lined with precisely spaced and pruned trees, many local Parisians take a break while teenagers hurry back to school.
Photo 3: At another corner of the square carefree children playing under the close supervision of their nannies. It seemed an entirely safe and comfortable place.
These gardens are considered the best in central Paris, located close to the Latin Quarter and within walking distance of Ile de la Cite and very close to the Pantheon. I recommend you make time to visit and possibly have lunch at the cafe within the gardens.
The gardens cover 60 acres and the landscaping takes in all aspects, including fountains, lakes, terraces, treed parklands etc. The magnificent 17th century Fontaine de Medicis is not to be missed. The gardens are very popular with the local residents who can be seen sunbathing or enjoying lunch on the lawns.
For those travelling by train alight at Notre Dame des Champs, for those walking follow Boulevard Saint Michel from the river.
Halfway down the hill of Montmartre, this is one of the most picturesque and animated squares in Paris.
If you come to Paris for the first time, start your excursion here, cause walking up the stairs coming out of the metro (Abesses station), you'll be pleasantly surprised when plunged in the authentic Parisian atmosphere.
Also the entrance of the "art nouveau" metro station with it's wrought iron arches and yellow lamps is wonderful (see the second picture).
Take a closer look at the handle bar of the Vespa scooter on the picture... yeah, this is France! :-)
How to get there: Metro station Abesses
Favorite thing: Enjoy summertime : get some cheap beers in a food store, have a seat in one of the most welcoming gardens of Paris with some good friends and enjoy the melting of colours, the happy-go-lucky way of life and the slant of time....
This was yet another example of art for the masses! I came upon this in the same area just a short walk from La Defense and again it adds and provides a contrast to what would be only buildings otherwise...
As I scanned this picture, I noticed for the first time that while the oblisk seems to be perfectly vertical, the building in the background appears to be leaning inwards! Optical illusion? I have no idea... What do you think?