Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Going Green In Paris


Paris is a fascinating place.  You could never run out of things to do in a lifetime.  But it’s also crazy and fast and crowded.  And full of stone and concrete.

As a Midwesterner I’m crazy about the color green.  Green as in trees and lawns and gardens.  I’m used to shady canopies over me as I go down the street, a dozen different birds in my yard, soothing green on all sides.  There’s even a limit to how long I can visit a place like Arizona.  Something just doesn’t seem right in that moonscape.  My eyes starve for the color green.

I think that’s why I could never live in the heart of a megacity.  Yes, I know about parks and things, but there just isn’t enough green in all its wonderful variations for me.  All the culture and excitement in the world just couldn’t make up for the lack of that one peaceful color.  That’s one reason cities like Paris (or New York or London) are great places to visit in short spurts but not to stay for the long haul.  Even Dijon, where it’s easier to reach little oases of nature, I dream about grass between my toes (not that the French actually ever step on grass) and all the related bits of nature it brings.
So during my two days in The City of Lights I was drawn to every greenscape I saw.  Here are a few for you to enjoy.
One of the courtyards in the Musée Carnavalets.  The museum was made by connecting two townhouses,
so it was blessed with some outdoor space that they fill with green.

The French do try to create gardens wherever possible.  This first photo was a corner of the small courtyard outside my hotel window.  Two sides of the courtyard were my hotel and filled with HVAC equipment and the like.  On the remaining two walls apartment dwellers tried to beautify the industrial atmosphere.  In the second photo notice the bit of purple in the upper right corner.  They’re training a clematis to frame their window.


Jardin du Luxembourg.  It’s the back yard of everyone on the Left Bank.  It’s the only place in the city I see joggers.  Even the Luxembourg chairs are green.  And on a nice Sunday afternoon every single one was taken.

I noticed this little park along the canal that branches off the Seine near the Bastille,
between the 4th and 12th arrondissements.

As I exited the Varennes metro stop near Les Invalides (Napolean’s tomb), I caught a view of the Eiffel Tower through the trees on the grounds of the monument.  The grounds of museums seem to have the highest concentration of trees and grass.

As I headed down the stairs at the Sèvres-Babylone metro stop near Les Invalides I caught sight of this renegade lavender trying to escape under the fence of the small park that sits on top of an underground parking garage.

Are you as addicted to green as I am?  Or do you do just fine in a jungle of asphalt, stone, and brick?  What’s the greenest place you’ve been or the one with the least amount of color?  Share your experience and preferences in the comments box.  Or, if you just want to tell us about your favorite place in Paris or your favorite park anywhere, that’s good, too.


Nadine Feldman said...

I love these photos -- as always!

When I saw "Paris" and "green," my first thought was of the little green street-cleaning machines that they have. Hubby is fascinated with them and has taken many, many photos of them in action.

One of the big draws for me of living in the Pacific Northwest is all the green. People go crazy with their gardens here, and of course there are all the trees. We only get about half the rain that Seattle does, but it's still enough to give us that lush, rich vegetation.

Julie Farrar said...

I love the green in your corner of the world. However, I don't know if I could handle all that gray the other half of the year.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver is green year around, the greenest place I know on earth. You'd love it here, Julie. Every house has a green space around it, besides all the parks and gardens.

Julie Farrar said...

Years ago we passed through Vancouver on the way from Vancouver Island to the mountains. I know everyone says it's worth a good visit.

Bev said...

i am surrounded by the green fields of our farm. it is one of the prettiest sights to see, the red cows against the green grass and the big alberta blue sky.
hi i found you and your blog through she writes. i would love for you to visit my blog and follow if you like it. i am a beginning writer and look forward to reading your posts

new follower bev

Julie Farrar said...

Hi Bev. Thanks for reading. I know what you mean about the big sky. I was there briefly and it does go on forever. I don't need that much green, but I do need more than I'd get in a strictly urban environment.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Hi Julie, so glad to see you are enjoying 5 weeks in France... and, you managed a few days in Paris! I live in a city of trees, huge live oaks with spanish moss.

In Paris, I love to find the green spaces of all sizes. I love the Catherine de Medici reflecting pool with its garlands of green (Luxembourg Gardens), Parc de Monceau, the gardens at Musée Rodin, and Parc de Bercy. Thanks for these memories!

I hope that your writing is going well, and you have inspired me to get the book "Writing Away."

Can't wait to hear more about your adventures this summer!


Julie Farrar said...

Yes, love the gardens of Musée Rodin. There were many ducks attracting a crowd at the Medici reflecting pool.

Becky Green Aaronson said...

Julie, I've been loving all your updates from France. Makes me a wee bit jealous, but I'm thrilled you can be there.

I'm drawn to the color green too (could be that my maiden name is Green :-) ). Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, then lived high in the Rocky Mountains, and now on the California coast, I've been spoiled my entire life. As I look out my window right now I'm surrounded by the canopy of massive 100 year oak trees and woodland flowers. Green adds a large dose of serenity in the midst of my very busy life.

Melinda Farrar said...

There's not much green here with the heat wave. Seeing those pictures makes me wish it would rain.

I have the same trouble with the Southwest and even Southern CA. I miss the green and it just looks unfinished to me. Love Williamsburg and Thomas Jefferson's home and George Washington's home at Mt. Vernon. The view from his house is breath taking. It's well worth the trip.

Julie Farrar said...

Well, for all you who like green as much as me, the French countryside this summer is as green as Ireland because of the amount of rain that they've had since spring. It's so green it almost makes your eyes hurt.

Nancy said...

Lovely photos! It is very green in Portland OR and all of the Pacific NW but we earn this green beauty by enduring months and months of grey, damp and rainy days. If you haven't been here, you should put Portland on your places to visit list. It really is the most beautiful place to be in the summer. How lovely to have a home of your own.

Julie Farrar said...

Nancy, I lovelovelove Portland and that area. I have friends in Oregon. I'll add you to my list of people to see when I get out there.

Muriel said...

London is great for green. Huge parks, and the rest of it. I have to admit that I am not too fond of Paris. Last time I went there, it was dirty and narrow. there must be something wrong with me!

Cristina Dimen said...

How beautiful, Julie. So happy you were able to see it all.

Believe it or not, it's quite green in NYC right now. We've got lots of green foliage and flowers in cheery pinks, reds and oranges, etc.

BTW - Thanks for the comment on my post. :0)

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