When I started this Paris Impressions series, I didn’t intend to offer French Lessons. But when trying to match letters with topics, I found a knowledge of two languages quite helpful.
However, Jardins is closely related to its English translation. Simply replace the J with a G… and you can guess what it means: Gardens.
As I mentioned in the H post, Baron Haussmann was responsible for creating numerous green spaces throughout Paris, a nice respite for the inhabitants of a major urban city. While there are many smaller parks throughout the city, the two most popular are the Luxembourg Gardens on the Left Bank, and Tuilleries Gardens on the Right Bank.
For those who may be unaware, you can walk a straight line from the Louvre, through the Tuilleries Gardens to Place de la Concorde, then continue down the Champs Elysees until you reach the Arc de Triomphe. It is over a two mile walk … but what a way to get in your 10,000 steps!
I adore these Gardens for several reasons.
First, they are located smack dab in the heart of the city: walking distance to three museums (the Louvre, the d’Orsay and the l’Orangerie), and an elite shopping district. Yet despite its easy access, it is surprisingly quiet and peaceful.
Secondly, it is a family friendly park. Picnic blankets dot the landscape with the laughter of children running around while Mom and Dad set up lunch.
Afterwards, they wander to the fountain where toy sailboats are available to rent. In this day of video games and over-programming, it is heartwarming to see these children content to use an every day stick to push the boat across the water. Sometimes simple pleasures truly are the best.
Lastly, I adore this park because it as much a museum as a garden. Everywhere you turn, marble statues grace the landscape. They are as common as a park bench, and yet, I don’t take the beauty for granted.
It is easy to grab a “jambon et fromage” sandwich at a local pushcart (ham and cheese like you’ve never tasted in the states), pull up a chair beside one of the many flower gardens, and bask in the simplicity of the moment.