by Zoe Hamilton
Word of the day: Printemps
Spring has arrived in Paris. In the past two weeks it has gone from winter coat weather to no-coat-at-all weather! When the sun comes out in Paris that means one thing for most Parisians: head to the parks. Now here there is a choice. Recently I have finished my very last exposé (very strictly structured oral presentation, also the main mode of evaluation at Sciences Po) for the semester. Which means in this last month of school I am much more free to explore the many parks Paris has to offer. In the past weekend alone I visited three for picnics and sun naps. It’s just too hard to go to the library when the weather is this perfect (I think this was part of the reason I avoided going to school in California). In any event I thought it might be fun to talk a little about the many parks Paris has to offer for when the sun decides to come out:
The Luxembourg Gardens:
In my mind this is the classic Parisian park, but maybe that’s only because it’s near both my house and my school so it’s the one I frequent. With the beautifully crafted gardens and many shady paths to take, it’s a hard one to dislike. Though I have heard several French people say it’s too… “French.” Go figure. Here you will find bourgeois children dressed in Chloé and Ralph Lauren pushing boats in the small pond with sticks next to the grass filled with students pretending to do their reading.
Bois de Boulogne:
I went here last weekend for a picnic and was pleasantly surprised. It is located out by the periphery so walking in past the screeching car horns and sketchy vans with their skimpily dressed owners standing by we didn’t know what to expect. But once we passed that less than charming part of the park, we stumbled upon a lake surrounded by big areas of grass. Rowboats were for rent on the lake and children ran around with dogs and soccer balls. It was quite the idyllic scene! We sat and ate baguette with cheese and drank cold rosé until the sun started going down (at which point we grudgingly headed back into the city). It’s funny how this park didn’t even feel like it was in Paris.
Canal St. Martin :
The Canal is located near the Marais and is one of my favorite (those least frequented) places in Paris. Along the canal there is a strip of grass on either side where people lay and soak up the warm rays. Across the street on both sides you can find cute cafés, bookstores and restaurants. Charming pedestrian bridges cross the canal intermittently and trees provide the perfect amount of shade.
Marché des Enfants Rouges and Park
I believe I have already mentioned this market but it is really on of my favorites here in Paris (besides the Raspail bio market where I have successfully become a regular!). This market is great for lunch. Though I have tried Lebanese, French and Japanese here, this past Friday I went for a crêpe place I had been eyeing though was too afraid to try because the man working there can be a bit harsh. However this time I got a free waffle and a compliment on my eyes! Win! I got the crêpe “fraicher” which had lettuce, parmesan, prosciutto, tomatoes, and tons of other vegetables that I cannot remember at this time. Madison and I took our massive crêpes and went to the sunny park next to the market where we devoured them. Unfortunately we shared a bench with a woman who kept clearing her throat sooo loudly that either she should see a doctor immediately or we were annoying the hell out of her with our insolence in daring to speak English in France (a real crime here).
Ok I need to head out to go to class (inside unfortunately). But hopefully I will continue to explore more parks this spring and the weather will stay as wonderful as it has been recently!