Monday, September 23, 2013

Paris Parks and Diversions


Paris is a wonderful walking city. Yes, the museums are fantastic, the shopping great and the people watching absolutely terrific, but the way to see the many faces of Paris is to take the metro to a place of interest, walk the neighborhood for hours and return to your room when "enough is enough" via the closest metro station. Then back out for dinner! At least that's our daily game plan when visiting great cities.

One of the great and famous Paris Cafes - Les Deux Magots
When your feet are tired or it starts to rain, just duck into a local cafe and have a cup of coffee (or tea or chocolate) or maybe one of the delicious Parisian lemonades ... Citron pressé is a popular, refreshing drink served in French cafes. It's homemade lemonade at its finest ... a glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a bowl of sugar, a carafe of cold water and a maybe few ice cubes. Sprinkle some sugar into the lemon juice, stir, add water to taste. Lemonade just like in Paris!
 
One of the intriguing covered passageways of Paris
Or maybe you are close to one of the many covered passageways of Paris when you need cover from the elements. These shopping alleys are great cover and the stroll through the cafes, souvenir emporiums and vintage shops is pretty interesting.
 
Rue Mouffetard at the turn of the 20th century
Rue Mouffetard markets
Rue Mouffetard cafes
When you need a break from the museums and shops, try a diversion into an old fashioned market street, like Rue Mouffetard near the Luxembourg Gardens, or one of the many city squares, like Place du Terte in the Montmartre neighborhood.
 
Place du Terte in Montmartre near le Sacre Cours
Our favorite diversions on this trip were into the lovely, manicured old jardins of Paris. These parks always have interesting, formal layouts with gravelly walking paths, beautiful gardens and fountains, often with vast grassy areas and lots of benches. Parisians love their parks and use them like we do our backyards. We strolled through three lovely garden parks last week, stopping to sit and rest our feet while people watching and taking in the beauty.

John Singer Sargeant's Luxembourg Gardens at Twilight 1879
Fontaine de Médicis (1866) in the Jardin du Luxembourg
Fontaine de Médicis
Fontaine de Médicis
Palais du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg with the Palais in the background
Jardin du Luxembourg
Near of the Latin Quarter, the Jardin et Palais du Luxembourg (Paris 6e) is one of Paris' most beloved parks. It was raining the afternoon we took our stroll through the gardens, so there were few people in the park.
 
Edouard Manet's Music in the Tuileries 1862
"Sailboat Fountain" in the Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
The Jardin des Tuileries (Paris 1er) is the Central Park of Paris. Running along the right bank of the River Seine from The Louvre to the Place de la Concorde, this 16th century park is always lively and lovely. It's not only great for people watching, but there is a fountain on the Louvre end that is always busy with children pushing sailboats along in the pond.

Gustav Caillebotte's Le Parc Monceau 1877
Bridge in Le Parc Monceau
Serene stream in Le Parc Monceau
Carousel in Le Parc Monceau
A quiet park in the eighth district is the Parc Monceau (Paris 8e). This garden-filled park is home to a variety of architectural features, numerous streams and ponds a children's carousel and walkways used extensively during the lunch hour by runners.

These are but three of the many wonderful parks of Paris. For more about these and other Parisian parks, visit this site.

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