My favorite gardens of Paris !!

And here I am taking another favorite subject of mine. I have written on many of them already in my blog but this is an overall look of them and to help others enjoy them as I. OF course, this will be in my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy the post and can use well the information on my favorite gardens of Paris!!

The aim of the classical gardens of Paris was to glorify and offset the royal palaces, endowing them with a grandeur they had not previously known, These are the beautiful gardens we enjoy today in my eternal Paris. A great place to walk among beautiful architecture and history!

In the 16C ,Catherine de Medici built a palace (palais des tuileries now gone) on the site of a former tile factory, attached to the site was an enclosed garden, André Le Nôtre turn it into a French style garden in 1666, the Jardin des Tuileries. Le Nôtre erected two large terraces forming a broad alley that even went beyond the limits of the palace. This followed the route later was the future of the Champs-Elysées and beyond to the Grand Axis, armée, la defense etc, This perspective ran from the Louvre to the Grande Arche de La Défense, The garden is divided into two parts, ; next to the former palace there is a wide open expanse adorned with parterres, there is also a wooded area, The Tuileries garden was one of the first gardens in Europe to open to the public. In the 18C, they became the model for public gardens throughout France and elsewhere in Europe. There are about 100 17C to 20C sculptures including some by Aristide Maillol. And of course, you know I worked for several years just across the street of rue de Rivoli in rue de Castiglione!

The Carrousel garden, was built in the 19C after the palais des Tuileries was burned down ; the triumphal arch later became a gate to the Tuileries, Aristide Maillol sculptures were introduced and later became the Louvre garden, It open out into a terrace belvedere that was constructed over the underground path on the exact site of the former palace terrace once used for balls and parades, Adorned with a central stairway the terrace descend to the Tuileries where Le Nôtre designed the manicured Grand Carré and the wild thickets of the Grand Couvert.

We come to the Jardin du Palais Royal which now virtually nothing remains of the original design of the garden built close to the Palais Royal in the early 1600’s. The garden was bigger than it is today, consisting of parterres with box hedges decorated with pools and statues where to the north Louis XIV went for fox hunting as a child. The construction in the 18C of the streets and buildings (Haussmann) nearby reduce the size of the garden and was turned into an English style garden. Today the garden covers an area of 8 hectares shaded by a double row of lime trees ; the central pool with its fountain is flanked by two expanses of grass bordered by single flower beds decorated with 19C statues, Leading up to the French revolution and Directoire this was the liveliest spots in all of Paris!

The Jardin du Luxembourg, which Marie de Medici ordered built for her palace is laid out around a central parterre dominated by terraces, Thousands of Elm trees arranged in a square once frame a view that ended abruptly at the Carthusian monastery, The monks refused to give their part of the land therefore the southern extension was not carryout until the 18C after the monastery was torn down by the French revolution. The garden was restored by Chalgrin during the First Empire (Napoleon I),built in English style and was rarely used for grand festivities. The 19C saw the introduction of a bandstand , a merry go around by Garnier, and numerous shelters, some for entertainement has been added more recently, There are about 80 statues distributed around the garden, the work of 19C artists including Cain, Frémier, Bourdelle, and Marquese, There are 3 fountains such as the Medici fountain whose pediment bears the coat of arms of the queen, the Regard fountain of 1869 commemorating Eugéne Delacroix decorated by a bronze statue of 1890 by Jules Dalou, Plenty of flower beds, and chesnut trees, an orchard on the remains of the Carthusian monastery with thousands varieties of apples, and pears, The observatory gardens were laid out in 1867 and recently renamed Robert Cavelier de La Salle and Marco Polo gardens,It has the four corners of the world fountain completed in 1874 after plans by Davioud, The statue of four women supporting the globe symbolizing the four corners of the world are by Jean Baptiste Carpeaux.

The Botanical Gardens date from the Renaissance and were first used for educational purposes during the reign of Louis XIV. Also used for experiments ,conservation of exotic specimens brought back from foreign expeditions.

We have in Paris, the Jardin des Plantes which initially was built by Louis XIII as the Royal Medicinal Herb Garden in 1633 for the use of medical students, In 1640, it became the first garden in Paris to open to the public. The garden were enlarged and became a place of scientific learning with the coming of the Jussieu brothers who were botanists ,The collection of dahlias etc extended from the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution to the railings by the entrance, There is also a Rose garden, an ecological park, rockery in the Alpine garden with 2K species of alpine plants, The maze built around 1640 with a bronze house on top, the oldest metal building in Paris, The two hothouses , the Mexican and Australians were built in 1834 the first time iron was used for this type of construction, The columns at the bottom contains the tomb of Daubenton. The menagerie (petting zoo) was added to the garden during the French revolution after the Royal menagerie was confiscated (including from Versailles) laid out in English style had cocodriles, and snakes.

The Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil was laid out in 1898 by Jean Camille Formigé on the site of Louis XV former nurseries and included greenhouses. It is Paris official orchard and the supplier of indoor plants for the Hôtel de Ville (city hall) and some of the mayor’s offices, The Serres d’Auteuil is also a botanical garden with the most remarkable feature a series of greenhouses to form a great hothouse ; this is 98 meters (325 feet) long and a central dome of 16 meters (53 feet) high, It contains a palmarium and an abundance of tropical flora.

The Parc Floral de Vincennes opened in 1909 as a site of horticultural exhibitions,It covers 76 acres and abounds in valleys, artificial lakes, and rivers,The style of the pavilions and patios design of the ponds, and fine statuary anchor the park in the esthetic traditions of the 1970’s.

You have picturesques gardens or the anglo chinese gardens very fashionable in the 18C, here we have a land of illution dotted with curious and exotic ruins and buildings.

One that comes to mind is the Parc Monceau, the Chartres folly of Louis XVI’s brother the Duke of Chartres built near the hamlet of Monceau in 1787 ; it was the first anglo-chinese garden style, and Carmontelle built it as an open air pandora’s box of curiosities and as a location for festivities, A number of extravagant construction were built of which only the Egyptian tomb and the Naumachia remains. The park was enlarged in 1793 to include the rotunda by Charles Nicolas Ledoux. The Haussmann renovations hurt the Monceau park as half the land or about 20 acres were sold to the Pereire brothers who built streets, private houses, and the park was encircled by railings with a monumental gates, Several trees planted in the 19C with a number of rare species including a fruit beating fig tree and the extraordinary Davidia or handkerchief tree.

The Bagatelle or Artois folly in 1775 Louis XV’s brother, the Count of Artois had Bagatelle’s castle and park built in only two months in response to a challenge by Marie Antoinette. The park was design in the anglo chinese style introducing waterfalls, grottos, a pagoda, and a lover’s pavilion, The grounds were further extended in the 19C with an orangery and stables, A subsequent owner, Sir Richard Wallace (of the Wallace fountains) ,added two hunting lodges and the Trianon, The property was bought by the city of Paris in 1904. The park provides a remarkable cross-section of garden design spanning three centuries, The English garden with its undergrowth, ponds and shady areas, a French style garden with parterre and an extraordinary rose garden built in 1904 by JCN Forestier the warden of parks and gardens and a friend of Monet.

Landscape gardens inspired by English parks ,came into being during the Second Empire (Napoléon III) ; these hidden gardens offered private , winding paths for quiet walks, Among them are :

The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont conceived by Napoléon III. The decision was made to build Buttes-Chaumont in 1863, Jean Charles Alphand use dynamite charges to give new forms to the Buttes-Chaumont , results included a lake , several waterfalls, and rivers, embankments and large plantations, The park opened in 1867 on a typical Haussmannian design paths plunging deep into the undergrowth chambering up rocks, and then opening up into higher land and winding their way throught the countryside,It includes a temple ,and a grotto with stalactites as well as a wonderful flora,

The Parc Montsouris was designed a copy of Buttes-CHaumont and laid out by Alphand between 1867 and 1878 over the site of old quarries that have been turned into catacombs in the late 18C. There is an aritificial lake , waterfalls, and grottos with grassy areas, The highest point was once occupied by the Palais du Bardo which burned down in 1991 had moorish design built for the Universal Exhibition of 1867, The park also has a meteological station constructed in 1947 next to the south bearing of the old Paris Meridian that once stood in an observatory designed by Vaudoyer in 1806.

And there are some nice modern parks/gardens in Paris too, My favorites and many others are:

The Parc de la Villette built in 1987 on the site of the old halles crossed by the Ourcq canal and 86 acres of land making the largest green space in Paris, It links two important cultural centers, the Cité Des Sciences and the Cité de la Musique as well as the Grande Halle. Notes for its nice walks, day and night entertainement and displays of modern arts, There is an architectural promenade and a Bamboo garden,

The Parc de Belleville of 11 acres ; it has a vine, several open air cafés on wine growing area that once was , artificial grottos and waterfalls as well as pools which reminds you of the water that still flows undernearth, As it sits in one of the highest point in Paris, there are wonderful views of the city from a belvedere at the summit.

The Parc de Bercy built on the site of bonded warehouses once stood and designed as a garden of memories, paved tracks, warehouses, ruins of the Château Bercy and about 100 trees, Built on a classical model with grass , parterre, and a terrace that runs down to the Seine river, There is a romantic garden constructed around a canal and ending in an island.

The newest is the Parc André Citroën which since 1993 is at the center of a new district constructed on a site of an old Citroën motor car factory. The White Garden closer to the city and denser and the Black garden with the reverse effect, the main area runs down to the quays by the Seine river,There is an esplanade with a huge greenhouse with surrounding 120 water jets, There is a grassy section with a waterfall and a large canal, There is a line of 6 gardens each dedicated to one of the senses, Also, two large greenhouses one is an orangery and the other has Mediterranean flora.

And then, you have the woods, bois of Paris, and love them.

There is the Bois de Vincennes, the forest of royal hunt from the 12C turned into a public park since the reign of Louis XV, Early on in the 19C was used by the military, Encourage by the Bois de Boulogne, Napoléon III decided to do one on the east in 1857. Alphand built three lakes, Minimes, St Mandé, and Gravelle, Lake Daumesnil was added later. The forest was 2460 acres and was reforest with new trees, alleys, greenery etc. The forest acquired a hippodrome in 1863, the imperial farm in 1859 and in 1867 , the school of Horticulture was established. Other attractions were later addes like a Zoo 1934 Floral park 1969 ,and the George Ville Farm 1989. The Vincennes Zoo replaced the Zoological Garden lait out temporarily for the Colonial Exhibition of 1931.

My favorite is the Bois de Boulogne 2100 acres of good times and plenty of good memories for my family, Extends from Boulogne to Neuilly with wooded areas, lakes, footpaths, bridle paths, cycle tracks, sports facilities, and restaurants. Within it are numerous gardens such as the before mention Bagatelle, also, the Pré-Catalan, Shakespeare, and the before mentioned Serres d’Auteuil. The Bois de Boulogne are now separated from the old Rouvray forest of medieval times, It became a royal park in the 13C and acquired the name Boulogne after Philip the Fair had a small church there in 1301 to commemorate pilgrimage to Boulogne sur Mer (Pas de Calais dept 62) . The forest was open to the public by Louis XVI in the 18C with a reputation for loose living after François I turned the Château de Madrid into a lover’s rendezvous, and the nobility built the castles of La Muette,Neuilly, La Folie St James, and Bagatelle. The Moulin de Longchamp among the ruins of the Longchamp abbey founded in 1256 and destroyed during the French revolution,However, the windmill is still there !!

Napoléon III renovated the area badly damaged during the French revolution and allied occupation of 1814-15. The Bois de Boulogne was linked to Paris by the Allée de l’Impératrice (now Avenue Foch) and it was designed by Alphand who between 1852 and 1858 built 60 miles of paths, constructed lakes, and rivers, and planted 400K trees, There are children’s areas such as the Jardin de l’Acclimatation 1860 , Pré Catalan garden 1855, followed by Longchamp and Auteuil racecourses in 1857 and 1873 respêctively. It made the Bois de Boulogne one of the most fashionable promenades of the Belle Epoque!

There you go folks, a beautiful natural promenade in gorgeous Paris! A visit to these gardens/parks is a must while visiting the capital of France. Hope you enjoy my favorite gardens of Paris, as I and do visit them when possible.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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