Well, hello there - it's been a while! I am back from a family vacation in Paris....and now I need a vacation to recover from the vacation, if you know what I mean :)
Despite our minimal French vocabulary, it was rather easy to adjust to the Parisian way - in fact, after only a couple of days, the lady in the boulangerie down the street from our hotel would bag our "usual" baguette order as soon as she saw me walk in the door. I loved that! The biggest adjustment was not having a "normal" coffee in the morning. I must say, however, that I did become quite fond of café au lait - yum!
|Sunset over the Seine|
This post is photo-heavy so you may want to grab that cup of coffee or tea right about now :)
First, a few highlights from our trip, starting with the most commonly visited sites:
|Eiffel Tower (did this one even need a caption??)|
|Arc de Triomphe|
|Notre Dame Cathedral|
|Mona Lisa crowds at the Louvre|
And some that are not so common:
|Courtyard behind houses that line Place de Vosges|
(where Victor Hugo once lived)
|Phillip II Augustus wall|
One of the few remaining sections of the wall that surrounded the original town of Paris in the 1100's
|Mur des je t'aime|
(Wall of Love)
|Arènes de Lutèce|
Constructed in the 1st century AD, this amphitheater
is one of the few remnants from the Roman era in Paris
|The city has tried to put an end to what are referred to as Love Locks,|
removing millions of locks from bridges in the past few years - the practice, however, persists.
An unusual multi-level cemetery built in an abandoned gypsum quarry
Built in 1823, galaries such as this one allowed Victorians
the opportunity to stroll and shop while being protected from the elements
|Ecuries De Roi (Kings Stables), Versailles|
Across the street from the Versailles palace, this carriage
museum is often overlooked but well worth a visit
|Luxembourg Palace Gardens|
My garden preference leans more towards cottage style gardens rather than formal ones, so missing out on the palace gardens was not a huge deal for me. I was, however, disappointed that I would not see Le Potager de Roi (The Kings Vegetable Garden). It is located in a walled section some distance from the palace and we did manage to get a peak through the gates as we strolled around the city (which was bearable as we kept to the shady side of the street).
|Potager du Roi - Peak through the gate|
Notice the espalier fruit trees on the left
|And yet another entrance to peak into...|
When we visited Le Jardin des Plantes, the heat once again conspired against us. My family decided to take a café break while I took a quick stroll through a small portion of the gardens. It didn't take long, however, before I felt myself melting in the heat, so I cut my short walk even shorter. From what little I did see, I have a feeling this would have been a favourite.
|Jardin des Plantes|
The gardens were structurally beautiful - the paths, the tree lined walkways, the fountains - I would definitely call these aspects extraordinary. But the plantings, which for me are the "raison d'être" of a garden, didn't inspire me. As I mentioned previously, I prefer less formal gardens so this obviously plays into my perception as would the time of year - gardens can change dramatically depending on the season.
This brings me to what surprised me the most about Parisian public gardens and one of the reasons I was underwhelmed by them - you couldn't walk on the grass. While in North America, this is the exception rather than the rule, in Paris it was the complete opposite.
|Tuileries Garden - Notice the barriers surrounding the grass|
|Jardin du Palais Royale|
Now let me show you the garden related "find" that excited me the most during our trip:
These passion flowers were growing in a playground on one of the hidden treasures of Paris that not many tourists know about - the remnants of one of the Bastille prison towers.
|Discovered during excavation in 1899 and moved to it's current location the following year|
All in all, a wonderful vacation - and I'll definitely be missing those baguettes! But now we are back in Canada and back to reality - which isn't so bad as we are approaching fall, one of my favourite times of year (I think I say that for every season!). Our garden did just fine while we were away - the weather cooperated, being neither too hot nor too cold, and I believe there was a bit of rain as well.
The kids are back to school as of this morning, a good thing as there is a lot of post-vacation catch up still to do. I've done a lot of harvesting - I'm way overdue for a Harvest Monday post - and, of course, there is still more sheet mulching to do for the garden expansion. Now to make myself a café au lait and see what everyone in blogland has been up to :)