Tuesday, November 10, 2009

espaces verts

Paris, being like any other metropolitan city, has lots of cars, too many people, weird smells, and too much noise. Get over your romantic image of 'la belle Paris,' people... 

However, Paris does have an appreciation for small green spaces. In a city where not many people have backyards, archways and balconies hang with vines, flower stands are popular at the metro stop as well as the market, and flower shops boast new arrangements every other day. French etiquette calls for bringing flowers as a polite gesture when visiting someone's home for dinner, and I've seen numerous people carrying home bouquets, along with their baguettes, on their way home from work. Here are some pretty snapshots I thought I'd share. Most of them were taken when I was walking around the Marais. 

without the vines, this archway would probably not be so eye-catching.
a cafe-restaurant I saw at the end of the street. It looks so cozy!
I was so curious I turned the corner to go check it out. Story of my wanderings- I follow whatever catches my eye, usually getting me lost. 

A bucket of flowers


more roses- I love this arrangement, despite my usual taste for the red/pink mix. 

tiny buckets

sunflowers- I was browsing some racks out in the front of a clothing shop, and i turn around  and BAM! these huge sunflowers were looking right at me. 

the street market at Corvisart metro stop- every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday morning.

gladiolas at the flower stand at the Versailles market

pretty flowers don't come cheap...

These pretty splashes of color are a sight for sore eyes- a nice break from the grimy sidewalks and gloomy days that autumn brings. Luckily, I get to walk through the Luxembourg gardens on my way to class, my window looks out onto the center green of the Cite U, and the Parc Montsouris is right across the street from my building. If I lived in the center of the city, squeezed in to the row upon row of tiny apartments, I think I'd really miss the big green spaces I take for granted at home. 

There are huge parks here- the Luxembourg, the Tuileries, the Jardin des Plantes- but unless you're lucky enough to live near them, a nice big park with lots of green lawn (that does not say 'pelouse interdit' - do not walk on the grass) is a rare find. Even at the Jardin Tuileries, it is much more likely that your shoes get coated with dust from the gravel of the meticulously landscaped Parisian garden than mud from the grass. Oh Parisians- what use is gravel and trimmed topiaries?  It makes me feel so confined and restricted, like I'm still in the city and still need to abide by the rules of civilization. I thought the idea of the park was the bring us all back to nature...


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