People watching is at its zenith in Paris and especially in this well-loved and highly used garden! You can see all types of activities.
On this particular day there was a merry bands of people working with movement and large blue fans. Does this have a name? I’m sure it does, but I am ignorant.
My closest metro station and line is the #6. And, omg, what a line it is! A daily view of the Eiffel Tower from smack dab in the middle of the Seine is mine for 1 Euro 90. What a deal!
Of course I love the classic art nouveau metro stations of Paris.
Famed Art Nouveau designer Hectar Guimard (1867-1942) left his legacy with whimsical Metro entrances featuring intricate iron wrought details. There are only a few of the original Art Nouveau Metro station entrances remaining in Paris — including at Cité, at Blanche, and at Porte-Dauphine. All were designed by Guimard and were completed at the turn of the 20th century, during the period that the Metro system was being built.
Note Guimard’s use of distinctive Art Nouveau touches like the signature green color, wrought-iron arches, and decorative flourishes. There are still two, and only two, Guimard Metro entrances with their original glass roofs — Porte-Dauphine near Bois de Boulogne and Abbesses in Montmartre.
In 2000, a century after Hector Guimard, Jean-Michel Othoniel transformed the Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre into the Kiosque des Noctambules: two crowns made of glass and aluminum conceal a bench designed for chance encounters in the sleepy city.
But, then there’s this one! Designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel, Place Colette, Paris.
There are the well-known “gardens” at Trocadero, which includes the fountains and unparalleled view of the Eiffel Tower. And then there are the smaller, scattered gardens that are a part of the same system.
This post covers a small Trocadero garden very near the Rue de Passy. When I’ve been there are several occasions, it was devoid of people. All the more reason to go!
Just a little ways east of the beautiful Monument to Luís de Camões at 4 Boulevard Delessert, 75016 Paris, is this fine little green space with a stairway built into a series of natural boulders.
You’ll know you’ve reached it when you see this bronze bas relief which is the Monument à de Grasse, by by Paul Landowski, who is well-known for his statue of Christ in Rio di Janero. But it is this monument in Paris which has a special significance for Americans:
François Joseph Paul, Comte de Grasse, Marquis of Grasse-Tilly SMOM (1722 – 1788) was a career French officer who achieved the rank of admiral. He is best known for his command of the French fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781 in the last year of the American Revolutionary War. It led directly to the British surrender at Yorktown and helped gain the rebels’ victory.
After this action, de Grasse returned with his fleet to the Caribbean. In 1782 British Admiral Rodney decisively defeated and captured Grasse at the Battle of the Saintes. Grasse was widely criticised for his loss in that battle. On his return to France in 1784, he blamed his captains for the defeat. A court martial exonerated all of his captains, effectively ending his naval career.
If you want to read more about this monument and its history, see:
In the pictures above and below, you can see the very cool stairway that ascends this series of big boulders.
But there’s another amazing thing about this particular little green space in the 16th arrondissement, and that is the presence of 2 pieces of unparalleled Parisian history!
Below is a doorway from the Tuileries Palace, which had been built by Catherine de Medici and which was destroyed by fire in the the 1870s by the Communards. You can see the fire damage at the top.
In this doorway, we have a small remnant of the Renaissance in France.
There is no signage for either of these architectural ruins, and I am indebted to Corey Frye, tour guide in Paris known as the French Frye in Paris, for having discussed them. Thanks Corey.
Not all of my pictures of it are great and that’s because it is vast and my camera is small.
From the Luxembourg, you have vistas that are jaw dropping, such as this view of the Pantheon:
But, as always, my favorite views are close ups, or at least near ups, such as this scene of the Delacroix fountain:
The flora is of course outstanding, as it was when I was last there in April. Look at these spritely tulips rising to suck up as much Parisian sunlight as flowerly possible. Oh, I can almost here the photosynthesis at work!
And the blooming trees and shrubs in le printemps! Oh la la!
And how about the way the French have of taking any blank wall and making something pretty and interesting out of it with a few pieces of slender wood.
I like to stop and read the signs and learn something new:
And I like to watch the gardeners working at keeping this magnificent place in order!
But, above all, I like to watch the children and their sailboats in the basin. I’ll be writing a separate post about this enchanting endeavor. Watch this space, s’il vous plaît.
And, in a category all its own because it is almost too wonderful for this life is the Medici Fountain. Do I love it for its beauty or because it was created by an amazing Italian woman? I may never know. Surveillez get endroit for more on this heavenly ensemble.
I have always loved the paintings of Vuillard. I like those of his coterie as well.
The next work goes under in the group called: “I have never seen this before.” I have seen a lot of things, especially in art, but this is the only delivery scene I’ve ever seen depicted!
The sculpture above is by Renoir, who is not a member of the Nabis, but this is where it landed in the Orsay.
Everyday is a pleasure, with plenty of visual delights, both natural and man-made, to capture your heart!