Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Luxembourg Gardens

This summer I filmed the Luxembourg Gardens with the intent of making a video about them, and I finally finished editing it. I just uploaded it to YouTube a few days ago.

The Luxembourg Gardens are some of the largest and prettiest green spaces in Paris. Oddly enough, they don't actually belong to the city, unlike the vast majority of other parks within its limits. The Luxembourg Gardens belong to the French Senate, which meets in a building at the north end of the gardens, the aptly-named Luxembourg Palace. Because the gardens belong to the national government rather than the city of Paris, they are guarded by gendarmes (who are part of the army), rather than police officers.

I consider the Luxembourg Gardens to be one of the best places to relax in the city. They are large enough that the non-stop traffic noise of Paris doesn't penetrate into the center of the gardens, so you can sit and relax in near silence while you read or vegetate. Often all you hear is the wind in the trees and the occasional cries of children playing nearby. The gardens are filled with chairs, which nobody steals (American visitors always ask me about that), and you can sit all day without being disturbed by anyone. Assuming you have that kind of free time on your hands, the Jardin du Luxembourg, as it's called in French, is a wonderful place in which to escape the stress of noisy streets and crowds.

The central gardens just south of the palace are beautifully manicured, in a style originally commissioned by Maria de Medici to resemble the style of her hometown of Florence, Italy. The rest of the gardens has alternating areas of tall trees and perfectly maintained lawns. Flowers decorate many parts of the gardens, and when the flowers wilt, they are removed and new flowers are planted, so that the gardens are always pretty (this practice is followed in other Parisian parks, too).

There's more to the gardens than just trees, flowers, and grass, however. There's a big playground for kids. There's a puppet theater for kids, too. There are playing fields for pétanque, a favorite game of the French, and there are tennis courts. There are basketball courts as well, and there's even an area with tables containing inlaid chessboards, if you prefer something a bit less strenuous. The long paths that run through and around the gardens are popular with joggers and strollers.

There's also a group of beehives in the park, and a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty. And there's a gazebo that seems to attract a lot of high-school bands from the United States. On the day I was there, in fact, the Stevens High School band, from Rapid City, South Dakota was giving a concert. Talk about something completely different … it must have been quite an adventure for them. Unfortunately, I had to mute their performance in the version of my video that I uploaded to YouTube, because YouTube these days is afflicted with copyright trolls that will fraudulently claim copyright infringement on just about any music they find in an effort to dishonestly make money from advertising. They were playing things like a medley of Henry Mancini music. They were—well, about as good as you'd expect from a high-school band. I found myself wondering if they paid their performance licenses for the concert.

I didn't really manage to do justice to the gardens in my video. I'll probably have to redo a new version in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive