Saturday, 16 April 2011

Paris Eye 17/30 - The lungs of Paris


Paris is a built environment of about 12 million people in its greater metropolitan area. Add to this the more than 30 million tourists who flock to the city every year, and the potential (and reality) for pollution is sobering. What is being done for the generations of the future?


Being one of those 30 million foreign visitors, it would be presumptuous of me to criticise or to give advice. However, there is one aspect of Paris which I find wonderful. The amount of green space and parkland.


My visit this time, seems to be a combination of the living and the dead: parks and cemeteries. In addition to The Tuileries, Jardins des Luxembourg and Jardins des Plantes, I have also wandered through Parc Monceau (8eme) and Parc Laboure (7eme). I have more in the planning stage for my remaining days.


The gratifying aspect of this, is that the people of this city actually use their parks. They are giant outdoor living rooms. They are backyards for apartment dwellers. They are reading rooms, soccer fields, running tracks. They are alive with tall trees and small trees. With beds overflowing with blooms, and beds still fallow until the last of the cold disappears. They attract pigeons and crows, sparrows and grey wagtails. And the black birds. The black-birds chirrup to their heart's content deep within these great big Parisian lungs.

18 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Lovely images Julie.

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, Julie, I'm so glad you're visiting Parisian parks. I've thought of you often, and wondered what you would be doing. Your photos are, as always, delightful. I love the first one!
Europeans really seem to treasure their open spaces, don't they? Perhaps those of us who live on less populated continents should learn from them.
We're just home this afternoon, somewhat jet-lagged, but with a wealth of European memories. Meeting you in Paris was definitely a highlight for me.
-- K

Virginia said...

Just guess which one won my heart and souL? The two boys of course. That is a fabulous image Julie. Fabulous.
V

J Bar said...

Such beauty.

Joan Elizabeth said...

The second one is pure magic to me. It is not surprising that people fall in love with Paris.

Joe said...

Wonderful images. My goodness how the people of Paris would see the seasons change sitting beneath that arbor.

diane b said...

The parks are beautiful and green and as you say the lungs of Paris. People do appear to use parks and squares more in Europe than here. Is it because there are more people there or is it because we have more room in our own backyard here?
When we were in Spain I asked a guide why there were so many people thronging the squares every night. The guide said it was because their homes were too small to entertain all their friends so they meet them in the square.

Julie said...

Yes, I agree with your Spanish guide, Diane. NOt that I have much experience of the size of homes in Europe, but take my current building. The apartments cannot be much bigger than what I have as a studio: a room as a bedroom. Very hard to entertain people. And this means that there is a broad range of ages and family groupings in the cafes, squares and parks. Not just 15 - 25 year olds as we have in Oz with all the behavioural issues that comes with this age group. What happens in europe every weekend is what happened in Sydney during the Olympics.

wanderer said...

Julie, n'oubliez pas Parc de Bagatelle (gratuitous blog link here). A trip to the edge of the Bois if you have nothing else to do (as if there's nothing else in Paris!).

Julie said...

Mmm ... Bois de Bologne was on my list for being brave. It looks so vast, where does one start. However, shall take bull by proverbial ... thank you ... Zoe?? ... you write wonderfully ... much like Zoe ... thank you kind Wanderer, Zoe or otherwise. And I do like the use of 'liminal'. May I purloin, please?

Dutchcloggie said...

Your photos are stunning, Julie. Jane and I were supposed to be in Paris today for a week too! We could have met up! Anyway, your lovely pictures make up a little for us not being there right now.

Kirsten said...

I love the way the parks are not just open expanses like Centennial Park, but have different sections to explore.

Julie said...

Kirsten: Yes. rooms. Especially Parc Laboure on Rue de Babylone which has areeas where children can do assorted activties and areas where oldies can simply sunbake and read - in peace.

Marieke: I never did know your exact Paris dates. I think you have quite sufficient on your plate at the moment. I like what that university friend did for Jane. Very insightful ...

Dianne said...

Love your top photo Julie! - I love how Parisians mozzie on down to the park newpaper in hand and rest a while in the sun for one hour or mabe two - we only go to the park for an organized event - like a family picnic etc etc. much preparation in the getting there and not much enjoyment in the being there.

wanderer said...

Julie, non, je ne suis pas Zoe.

The Bois de Boulogne is vast and pretty intimidating isn't it, and really needs (two) wheels. I made one trip via (metro) Avenue Henri Martin and walked as far as I could for as long as I could, loving every step. Parc Bagatelle is on the western edge, gorgeous, and a trip in itself (tulips in April, Roses in May and June) and not too far a walk from (metro) Pont de Neuilly.

Then there's the rather more wild Buttes Chaumont, built on the old limestone quarry in the North, rolling slopes of lazing locals, craggy heights and grottos, and a wonderful belvedere looking back at Montmartre.

Purloin away et bon séjour. J'ai envie de vous.

Cynthia said...

I only wish I could take my dog to those parks, the poor beast only has the right to walk on concrete sidewalks!

Julie said...

Wanderer: now I have three more parks on my list, but they all involve much walking, at which I usually do not baulk, but need to have a do inbetween each. So one of the soujourns will have to be after Easter - my final days here. I will see Parc Bagatelle, the floral parc out at Vincennes (trying to commit that spelling to memory!). I am also supposed to meet a fellow student from my WEA French class at Buttes Chaumont but, as I am unable to retrieve her contact details, have determined to go it alone. So, another big week in the pipeline. The penultimate week ...

TheChieftess said...

Beautiful spring shots!