Thursday, April 7, 2011

a walk in the park . . .

This weather is simply not to be believed. Again today it was as high as 23 degrees -- and you know that in such weather, tout le monde is in a good mood.  Yesterday's shopping expedition was successful, today we went to the Grand Palais for an interesting exhibition (Odilon Redon), but I've been promising forever to give you a peek at the Bois de Boulogne, and that's what you're getting today. Let's march along with Clemenceau, shall we? Like the similarly heroic Churchill striding along not far from him, he sets a good example, and Pater and I were happy to follow it, along the Champs Elysées, the Ave. de la Grande Armée, past the Palais de congrès

and into the park with its charming little train on which someday this Nana is going to ride with her granddaughter. . . .

Looking for les toilettes, as we'd now been walking for over an hour, we wandered around this charming pavilion
with glorious spring flowers -- even as I look at these photos now, only a week later, I can see that the early spring growth has matured rapidly since. Here, the trees are still in that first flush of green
and with the rapid onset of spring, fountains and other waterworks require adjustment and repair after their winter hibernation
and speaking of waterworks . . . where are those toilets?!
By now, we've rented our bikes and are following the map of the park which indicates several locations, but though we drive past several promised spots, we can find nothing, and by now it's past 1 o' clock, we left the apartment at 10-ish, and someone's getting cranky . . .
good guess . . . it's not Pater . . .
Finally, we ask directions of one of the park gardeners, and we find that we're just around the corner from the necessary  . .
That's better! Now I can better appreciate the horticultural charms -- all the naturalized bulbs, so many species tulips to covet (and, of course, I'm wondering which of mine might be blooming at home)
Back on our way, cycling through the many kilometres of well-groomed paths, we pass several individuals whose deportment and dress strike us as unusual for an afternoon in the outdoors . . . although some of them are dressed to take full advantage of the sunshine, at least as far as exposing leg and décolletage . . .

We try not to stare at the wares on display -- it's not polite, after all -- but further on in the park, the pétanque players don't mind an audience.
Watching a game played with a ball reminds me that there's something I'd better check out for my sister -- she'd be disappointed in me if she knew I was this close to Roland Garros stadium and never got a picture. So Hilary, this one's for you . . . we didn't cross the street and get right up to the site of the French Open, but perhaps you can imagine yourself in one of the seats . . . some tennis, some running along the Seine, a bit of shopping . . . just name the year!

It took us 9 visits to Paris to finally make it to the Bois de Boulogne. If you're visiting, I'd suggest you don't wait so long, especially if the weather's lovely.  Ca vaut la peine!


  1. It looks like a beautiful spot. So glad you're enjoying nice weather and that you found les toilettes!

  2. Enjoy the spring flowers! Things are a trifle en retard ici on the Island. No tulips, but lovely daffodils dancing in the breeze, which, it must be admitted, is quite sharp.

  3. Oh yes, les toilettes can be difficult to spot!

    I love that statue of heroic Churchill.

  4. Ha, you created such urgency in this post.

  5. Where did this weather come from, it is amazing.
    Oh, how I empathise with you on the toilet front, I have had so many bad experiences in Paris from an early age looking for them, it can ruin a visit, so well done for finding them!

  6. Reading your post was such an, ah... relief. And what glorious spring weather. (In Paris I always, always use a toilet when I see one, the preemptive strike is imperative. But that only works for so long.)

  7. Pseu: I love the city, but we're always happy to get a bit of nature and a good stretch.
    Lorrie: I've been following the weather back home and it sounds quite dire compared to the warmth here -- but at least the daffodils are cheering you! and I'll get a second spring when I get back.
    Susan: I think I need to keep a little map! Toilets of Paris . . .
    Terri: I certainly felt it at the time!
    Alison: I was beginning to consider how much privacy the trees might provide . . . not enough, sadly, but I was getting desperate, and began thinking if it's good enough for some of the acitivities that go on there . . .
    Duchesse: Me too -- I call it the prophylactic pee! Never waste a clean toilet!

  8. Oh, the Bois de Boulogne! We went on our first and only trip to Paris together. I too thought that I would love to return and to ride on that train with my grandchildren, who were, at that time, mere dreams. But at that time I still dreamed of many more trips to Paris.

    I think we made it our first trip because we stayed in the 16th, in a hotel that had been the apartment complex my spouse lived in as a child. He would "play" in that park, play being in quotes because good children in those days, at least good Austrian children, played neatly and quietly and weren't allowed to muss their clothes. Still he had very fond memories of the park.


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