I guess there are generally two groups of holidays- makers: those that rush around making sure they see everything or those that prefer to totally relax, venturing only to the nearest bar or restaurant. However, you choose to spend your trip or holiday, is very personal. I do like to see something of the area around me but I also like to take some quieter moments for myself.
Oddly enough the times I appreciated the most, whist on holiday, were quite mundane, sitting in a local park, large o small and reading a book, just watching the world around me or listening to some music. (Through my headphones of course) These were often, peaceful, contemplative moments, when the sun shone, the sky was blue and surrounded by plants, flowers and trees what could be more perfect.
Even on city breaks, I often find my way to a local park. Everyone’s favourite, mine included is the iconic, Le Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris known locally as the Luco. This is one of the most featured travel spots on Pinterest. Situated on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens, were inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence and were created by Queen Marie de Medici in 1612, who was homesick for her native Italy. The gardens, which cover 25 hectares of land, are split into French gardens and English gardens. There are several listed buildings within the gardens: the Palais de Luxembourg, the Musee de Luxembourg and the Orangerie which houses plants from the Mediterranean. Also, there are 106 statues spread throughout the park including the monumental Medici fountain. At the southern part of the garden there is an English style orchard containing ancient and forgotten varieties of apples.
These beautiful gardens have appeared regularly in French literature, perhaps most famously in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables where Marius and Cosette first meet. This is my favourite book and when I sit in the gardens, I can imagine these partisan young lovers, sitting by my side. Today, it is still a great place to relax, reflect and enjoy some lovely greenery in the heart of a city. Whilst visiting Paris, it’s always one of my must-dos.
One of the first landscape parks to be made in Paris, is the Parc Monceau, which can be found in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The park was created in the 17th century upon the orders of Phillippe of Orleans and designed by Louis Carrogis Carmontelle. The designer used Rousseau's words to explain his aim, to bring together all ages and all parts of the world in a single garden'. Today it is one of the most elegant parks in Paris and surrounded by impressive mansions, in one of Paris's most upmarket neighborhoods.Visitors can enter through the great wrought iron gates embellished with gold.
The park covers eight hectares and has an English style, informal layout. Many ages and parts of the world are represented by follies. Such as: A Renaissance archway belonging to the former Paris City Hall, an 'Egyptian pyramid', Corinthian pillars and even a Dutch windmill. There are also many statues featuring some of France's leading figures including Guy de Maupassant, Alfred de Musset and Frederic Chopin. The artist, Claude Monet painted five paintings in the Parc Monceau.
This park is one of the prettiest in Paris, with lots of paths, ponds and stream. It is close to Champs-Elysees and other strategic touristic places, and offers some quiet places in the city for both Parisians and tourists to spend peaceful and pleasant moments.
Parks, are one of my pleasures, I hope they become yours too.