Seeing differently: car-free Paris in the autumn (with added wheels): Part 3 – gardens

This is my third (and last) post drafted following our September visit to Paris, and finished during the aftermath of the horrible attacks last Friday.  

An email exchange with our French friends moved us very much.  The daughter of one of their closest friends lost one of her close friends, who died celebrating her 35th birthday alongside her sister and other relatives and close friends.  Both sisters and 9 of their friends died.  The sisters were French-Tunisian.  These attacks killed all, indiscriminate of age, gender, religious background, culture, or any other attribute.  

Together our friend and her friend joined many others on Tuesday this week to pay tribute to those who died and those who were injured and to the extraordinary emergency services –  at le Bataclan, at the various restaurants that were attacked, and in the area generally.

On Saturday evening oldest son and daughter-out-law were with friends celebrating the friend’s birthday.  One of the other guests had lived in Paris for several years and her former flatmate and close friend was among the missing at le Bataclan.  We later learned that she too was killed there.  28 years old.

It is important that we go beyond remembering those who have died and are injured, and make sure that we continue to live the life we believe in, including our life in community and culture.


The plan was that, instead of meeting up as normal with our Danish friends in either Denmark or Bath, we would all go to Paris together.  So they found a flat to rent to meet everyone’s needs, and we each made our own arrangements to travel there.

We couldn’t have expected that, at the very end of September, the weather would be so glorious and warm.  Nor that there would be both a car-free day and a celebration of the city’s public gardens that weekend.  And yet that’s exactly how it all came together.

So we ditched the list of exhibitions and museums, and instead spent our time outside.  We managed to pack in the Jardin des Plantes (botanical gardens); the Jardins de Bercy across the river; the Place des Vosges; the gardens at the Palais Royal; the Tuileries Gardens; and the Luxembourg Gardens.   Plus a lot (an awful lot!) of walking.  Miles and miles each day.

Unfortunately we had to give up on one of our favourite parks, the Jardin Plantee (a linear path using a former raised metro line), as the lifts were out of order so the park was inaccessible to us.

The Open Garden’s celebration provided us with small exhibitions and demonstrations, a celebration of how the inner city can provide opportunities for relaxation, contemplation, exercise, food growing, bees, and just enjoyment of the outdoor life.

Here is a flavour of what we saw.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and maybe will get the chance to visit yourself some time.  Enjoy!

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Gourds in the Jardin des Plantes

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Cafe with matching tables, chairs and bougainvillea (with added parrots)

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Edible flowers in the vegetable patch

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Walled garden, still flowering abundantly at the end of September


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Rooms with a view

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Demonstration herb tower

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Crate abundance

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Palais Royal

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Paris park life

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Sign near Tour Eiffel – ride your horses slowly!

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Detail in corner of Jardin des Plantes

About deborah @ the magic jug

Now I've passed 60 I'm still doing all sorts of things I haven't done before, as well as carrying on with the things I already love. I live a happy life with my long term love Malcolm. In my blog I explore local and low tech ideas, food, growing, making, reading, thinking, walking, and lots of other words ending in 'ing'.
This entry was posted in Community, Growing, Inspirations, Reflections on life (and death), Seeing differently, Travels, Walking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Seeing differently: car-free Paris in the autumn (with added wheels): Part 3 – gardens

  1. Lovely pics – we made it to the Jardin du Luxembourg this summer which was our first trip to any Parisian park – really loved it and lots for the kids to do there. So sorry to hear about your friends’ losses in Paris – shows how we are all connected. When we lived in Bath our former vicar’s daughter was among the victims of 9/11; none of us are untouched by these events.


    • Yes, Luxembourg Gardens is one of our very favourite Paris places, especially on a Sunday, when there always seem to be lots of people sitting around playing chess (at the tables and chairs specially provided), sailing little boats on the pond, and just enjoying being there.

      As you say, we’re all so connected and probably more and more so. Though I worry at the lack of coverage and attention given generally in the press when these things happen outside Europe (Lebanon, Turkey, Nigeria to name but a few). On the other hand, maybe our experience of it coming so close to home (e.g. London in 2005) helps us empathise more with those who endure these attacks even more frequently.


  2. Sam says:

    Lovely photos of Paris in good times. Love the cafe with bougainvillaea arch.


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