Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Afternoon in Luxembourg Gardens

Today is why I came to Paris in the fall.

80 degrees, low humidity, cool breeze, no clouds.

It doesn't get much better than this.

I arrived at Luxembourg Gardens around 3p by myself as Amanda was off searching for tennis opportunities. I figured I would lay in the shade, read a book on my Kindle, and take in the weather and scenery. (This post and the pictures below don't remotely do justice to this place. Check out the link above for details on the full scope of this park and additional pictures.)

We had visited a couple times already since the gardens -- the largest public park in Paris -- are only 2 blocks from our apartment. This Sunday afternoon, however, the lovebirds came out (and the Sorbonne hasn't even started classes yet!). Reminded me of my early years on Landis Green at Florida State University some 30 (!) years ago.

Below is a picture from the south entrance. The grassy area is about 25x100 yards and there are additional areas on each side borderd by the same nicely groomed trees. This is the only grass which you are allowed to walk on. The shade split the green in half. I estimated several hundred people on the grass, some choosing the sunny side and some choosing the shade.

Most are young couples. Some planned correctly and dressed for the occasion. Some seemed to have just happened on the gardens, such as the women who simply took off their shirt, using their bra as a substitute for a bathing suit top.

I wandered the rest of the grounds to see where I should plant myself, which is when I realized the rest of the grass was to remain untrampled. The dirt paths were lines with metal chairs filled with mostly elderly people reading books (or sleeping with book in hand!). They were facing immaculately groomed lawns containing sculptures and flowers. But no one was on the grass itself. I thought this odd since the green areas when I entered the park were filled with people. Nontheless, as a good foreigner, despite not speaking the language, I got the hint and stayed away from any area that did not already have someone planted there.

Others (mostly older men) were playing Bocce ball, cards, or chess and the more athletically motivated were even playing tennis on the courts dotting the gardens.

You could find the children's play areas simply by following the shrieks and screams! There is certainly plenty to do for young children but they smartly moved these areas away from the peaceful areas.

One young lady even demonstrated what NOT to where to the gardens.

Having quickly explored what my options were, I smartly returned to the grassy areas that nostaligically reminded me of my college years.

And nice grass it is.

I did not have a blanket so I just sprawled out among the crowd. Nothing like the feel of cool grass on a perfect fall day. It was largely quiet and peaceful but for the low-frequency murmuring from a crowd of conversations punctured only by the occasional foreign exclamation that I could not understand. There were lots of heads in laps, lips locking, and laughter. Paris really is for lovers, I guess.

I pulled out my Kindle to read a clever book, Sum: 40 Tales From The Afterlives (Hardcover) while listening to Gato Barbieri (Passion and Fire) (I never get tired of Europa) on my iPhone and being repeatedly distracted by the lovers surrounding me.

As the day progressed and the sun moved westward, the sun-worshiper kept shifting to the smaller and smaller patch of grass, leaving the majority of the grass in the shade to the rest of us.

After a couple hours of this bliss (at my age, I have to take my pleasures in small doses), I finally returned home satisfied that I had found part of what I had come to Paris for.

1 comment:

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