Archive for the Paris gardens and all things green Category

Awaken to L’Orangerie, Paris.

Posted in French Gardens, French Painters, French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , on February 19, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour everyone,

People often asked me, “If I had limited time in Paris, what would be a MUST to see?” Apart from the obvious icons, I tell them this:

“Head straight to L’Orangerie Museum on the western corner of the Tuileries garden”. You’ll need to enter through the main gates off the Place de la Concorde, pass the library…

IMG_2861

and a two minute walk upwards…

IMG_2864 (2)

DSC_0021

to the lawn of statues outside the Museum.

IMG_2870

Be an early bird and beat the crowds as I do. (This pic was taken after my visit not long after opening time.)

DSC_0024

Go straight ahead to the white rooms at the back of this small museum – the dedicated space of Monet’s “Nympheas.” Sit down on the leather bench dead centre of the room wrapped by enormous panels of French Impressionism and the gardens of Giverny (remember, https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/awakening-to-monets-garden/ ) in all its serene colour.“Nympheas” It’s nothing like you’ve ever imagined.

For a small virtual of what to expect go to the museum’s own website at:  http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/homes/home_id24799_u1l2.htm (Click onto Salle One and Salle Two to see the two rooms dedicated to Monet) . This doesn’t however, impart how you feel when you’re actually in there. Trust me. I have the same reaction every time I visit. And I watch others’ reactions and wait for them to simply exhale.

It’s  as if the very breath of Paris  essence has smacked each of us in the face.

If you do have more time, wander downstairs and see amateur artists copying the real thing in the Paul Guillaume Collection. There’s a saying here that “if the imitation is too good, the gallery will keep it” and you’ll find very friendly student artists such as Frank who will allow you to chat with him as he changes a small area of his work in order to take it home.

IMG_2874

Because that’s really what it’s all about here at L’Orangerie….

Everyone takes a piece of Paris home.

Happy travels and Best Wishes,

Therese

Copyright@Therese Waddell 2014

Advertisements

Awaken to a Paris Sky

Posted in French Gardens, French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2011 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

It HAS been a while. I hope you’re exactly as I left you last month as good things never change and you good people remain so from day to day, month to month and every year on. However, I hope you’re feeling good even though we feel the throb of busyness and a grinding ache for halcyon days at times.

My french awakening learned a long time ago that Paris, the fabulous City of Lights, can be what you want it to be and apart from bringing you stimulation and inspiration at an elevated level, it can actually bring you great peace…if you are looking.

Not a lot of people look for peace when travelling through Paris. They’re too engrossed buzzing about in a whirlwind of buying, snapping, smiling into cameras and ticking off formidable lists of places to see and do. Yes, queue with tour groups if you must but at least once and a while take the alternate route and set your own pace. Hit the grass and brace yourself to just take in the air.

Why? Well for one thing, having just finished reading Kathryrn Stockett’s book, ‘The Help’-

(some of you may have recently seen the film of the same title), I came away with a conclusive quote of impassioned wisdom which I thought I’d pass onto good people like yourselves.

…”‘You is kind. You is smart. You is important…”

Three very deserving reasons why we should lay low and just look to the sky when in Paris. Take a worm’s eye view of a Paris sky and embark on your green island in any one of the Paris Gardens to soak up some tres chic air and recapture the space we need and feel.

What does that feel like? I’m glad you asked…

You probably already know that Paris has been historically a city where many Peace Treaties have been signed for the benefit of mankind. The Treaty of Peace in Paris (way back in 1783) ended the American Revolutionary War with Great Britain and The Paris Peace Accords was signed to end the Vietnam War in 1973. There’s a whole lot more peace since then.

Just goes to prove that a slice of Paris peace couldn’t do you any harm at all.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes until next time,

Therese Waddell

copyright@2011 Therese Waddell

Awaken To The Eiffel Tower

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

The Eiffel Tower, erected for the Paris Exposition of 1889, does not need any tempting to be visited. When in Paris, whether it is your first or subsequent trip, take a new look at it and experience it’s beauty in a different way.

Whether you’re a thrill seeker wishing to soar into the clouds and boast out loud at the very pinnacle or wish to climb the first seven hundred and four steps to the second level, or perhaps just want to glide effortlessly into the above in a glass lift- that’s entirely your choice.

The view is spectacular no doubt.

You do have the opportunity to admire the view while experiencing impeccable cuisine by Alaine Ducasse, if you decide to dine at the famous’ ‘Le Jules Verne’ on the second floor.

You will find it at:

http://www.lejulesverne-paris.com/

to book a table. It’s wise to book MONTHS before you leave for Paris. That will give you enough time to lift yourself from the floor after reviewing the prices! Once there, there’s no backing out but be ready for a magnificent-often-once-in-a-lifetime-experience!

Naming the restaurant ‘Le Jules Verne’ is so appropiate for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Jules Verne wrote the book  ‘From The Earth To The Moon’ ( as well as others including ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea’ and ‘Around The World In Eighty Days ‘ and so on). Given the fact that Gustave iron made his beautiful iron construction as tall as an eighty one story building -(that’s three hundred and twenty four metres), I would say it’s pretty much to the moon as Parisiens are going to get!

And secondly, Gustave Eiffel spent the last thirty or so years working at the Eiffel Tower with his passion at this stage being aerodynamics and telecommunications and looking generally outwards from a world he had known. I’m certain he would have approved of the name ‘Le Jules Verne’ whose imagination led him to other worlds as well!

Alternatively, you may choose the other restaurant on the first floor. It used to be ‘Altitude 95′ but is now known as ’58 Tour Eiffel’. Book early given it’s unmistakable popularity, as it now caters better for families and groups who are visiting the Tower. It does turn into a really lovely brasserie/restaurant in the evenings, so check out the website for a booking at:

http://www.restaurants-toureiffel.com/

If you don’t want to dine and you really want to examine the Eiffel Tower itself, I would recommend experiencing it by day AND by night. Let me show you the ambience it conjures and how it appears at different times.

With a hamper of wonderful french cheeses, a baguette, your favourite gourmet delights and a bottle of wine, arrange a picnic on the lawn nearby.

That reminds me of Omar Khayyam’s poetry (originally written in Persian):

“Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough

A flask of wine, a book of verse-

And thou beside me singing in the wilderness

And wilderness is paradise enow”.

This may be just a corner of Paris, but the experience can be simply sublime. (No wonder Paradise has PARIS in it!)

Take your time to walk right under and around the back of the tower to see local toddlers riding their bikes and swinging in the small enclosed playground…

or feed the  ducklings in the small body of water just under neath.

You can always arrive in style darlings and take a horse and carriage ride around the Eiffel Tower and perhaps venture further into Paris. Some or these tours last for up to two hours. ( I’ve already told you of my fabulous experience in a horse and carriage at Versaille, so I can highly recommend it!)  Most of the time, you don’t have to book these rides at all- just turn up and have a chat to the carriage man! Prices are usually displayed on a board nearby.

During the evening, you can still enjoy a picnic under the stars depending upon the weather. Take a look at what you’ll see if you do.

Aah, when seven thousand tonnes of iron turn into a three hundred and twenty four metre blissful glow piercing the night sky, it makes for one very romantic setting for a picnic and more!

I can only say that Gustave Eiffel’s mother must have been one very proud mum!

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

Awakening To Paris’ Natural History Museum

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

Ross from the television series “Friends” would seriously sink his teeth into the Gallery of Paleontology at the Natural History Museum in Paris. Otherwise known as Museum Nationale d’Histoire Naturelle which was once under King Louis XIII,  it is located on Rue Curvier and is easily reachable by bus, train (stop at Gare Austerlitz) or batobus ( personally my favourite way of getting there- alighting at Jardin des Plantes.)

We can accredit the entire place to the wonderfully innovative naturalist, Georges Leclerc, the Compte de Buffon- honorable Keeper of The Kings Garden (Jardin du Roi) in the sixteenth century.

This  garden contained many medicinal plants for royalty and opened in 1640. Leclerc dedicated his entire life here  and later turned it into the fabulous museum and its gardens ( known now as the Jardin Des Plantes) for the next four hundred or so years and it is still enjoyed by everyone today.

As you enter the gates, you’ll be greeted by the statue of Jean Lamarck, another famous naturalist who had his own specific ideas on Evolution. He (and Darwin for that matter), were  influenced by the formidable  Leclerc.

That’s Lamarck thinking still….

Also at the front there are many gigantic models impressive to both young and old. One year, the dragon blew it’s fiery breath…

On the next visit, people were clambering to see the huge Meccano whale much to the delight of the child within!

Walk down The Allee Buffon which is a wide gravelly path lined  by English Plane trees  to the Museum in the distance. Discover the different gardens along the way like the Alpine, Rose and Winter gardens and the Mexican Glass house.

There’s also a huge herbarium stashing away  forty two thousand drawers of dried plants! Then just when you think that’s it, there’s the Gallery of Minerology, a girl’s next best friend with six hundred thousand mineral samples glimmering  from giant crystals and precious stones in rainbow colours. Lots of french oohs and arrhs around those of course!

Then my dear friends, my french awakening was alerted again once inside the Great Hall of Evolution.

You don’t have to be a nerd to be impressed. You can join the evolutionary trail of colossal animal specimens in a queue somewhat akin to entering Noah’s Ark!  Kids fully expect anyone of these animals to open their mouths and devour them instantly!

The displays and all specimens of flora and fauna are fantastic! Shoals of fish lurk  in corners, coral reefs are so lifelike and whale skeletons hover the entire length of the Gallery. Genetic models of  DNA double helical coils glow in lime green  and the story of life  is made colourful and awesome! They’ve gone to amazing lengths to keep everyone fascinated and they succeed brilliantly! So much to see, so much to learn here!

It’s 2010 and this I believe is the Year Of Biodiversity. The Natural History Museum takes you a step further into looking at biodiversity across our planet and you can get absorbed with the current Mozambique and Madagascar Expeditions as well. Learning about different destinations is afterall a great thing don’t you think?

Just like learning about Paris!

The Natural History Museum official Website is found at:

http://www.mnhn.fr/museum/foffice/transverse/transverse/accueil.xsp?cl=en

Do look it up and see the panoramic view of the main Gallery. You can also discover the walks and upload a map of the gardens before you visit.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

Awaken To Luxembourg East Side!

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes ami.

Let Pan seduce you with his flute when you  enter the Eastern Gate of the  Luxumbourg Gardens. The Eastern side holds a particular fascination for me and it will for you too. My french awakening came early that day as those gorgeous iron gates spread open. (You can enter anywhere between 7.15 and 8.30am depending on the month).

You may have to traverse a chorus line of joggers circumnavigating the park and who are sweating it out oh so early, but once you’ve darted through them, a solitary statue of Pan is waiting to greet you from on high. He dances above a circular bed of yellow tulips with his pan flute piercing the morning mist.

I once read somewhere that the pan flute sounds like an”echo of the heart and mind’ and I could imagine its lilting sound penetrating the stillness of the Luxumbourg that morning.

Many tourists give in to the other gates of the gardens but try starting at the Eastern Gate next time you’re in Paris. Go early when the air is deliciously crisp and the morning dew still glistens on the gravel underfoot.

What else can be found on the Eastern side? Well, besides exploring this corner of the twenty two and a half hectares of Luxumbourg Gardens, you will find the famous ‘Grotte du Luxembourg’  or these days known as the’ Medici Fountain’ built in about 1630.

This beautiful fountain pays honour to Maria de’ Medici, (second wife of Henry IV) and the Foundress of the Luxumbourg itself. Being an Italian girl (whose father was the Grand Duke of Tuscany), the sculptor  incorporated many elaborate florentine touches for her.

Some men go to great lengths to please a woman. Did you know that the water for her fountain had to be carried all the way from the Seine when it was first installed within the garden?

Once you’re outside The Luxembourg again, you’re a short walk to other fabulous French icons like the Sorbonne  (Paris University), The Pantheon and St Sulpice.

When you’ve had enough walking, there is a treacle of cafes and restaurants up and down Boulevard St Michel and St Germain outside the Eastern Gate. Fancy a coffee here perhaps?

Au revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

P.S.  Always remember to  dance to your own tune. Be the Pan!

Awaken To The Gardens Of Paris

Posted in French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , on December 15, 2009 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

A walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg is a must when in Paris and not only offers a quiet interlude during your stay, but you can walk in the footsteps of Parisians from past centuries and dream the dreams of days gone by!

Taken from an excerpts from my book, let me begin…

…’With adequate rest, we proposed a long walk up Rue de Rennes, across Rue Vaugirard to the imposing spring colours of pink and yellow tulips at the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Everyone here tried to succeed in catching the warmth of the sun’s rays and the many wired garden chairs are well and truly occupied. Children squeal with delight in the playground watching the puppet theatre, while serious chess players give advice in true competition. A group of photographers continue to click away looking for any artistic happening in the direction of a group of elderly Jeux de Boules players.

Jardin du Luxembourg is dotted with more than a hundred statues and the fountains and formal gardens which makes for a calm ambience to stroll exactly as they would have strolled in centuries long gone.

The Palais du Luxembourg is an imposing sight at the end of the Jardin. It was once the home of the mother of Louis x111, Marie de Medici, then a prison during the Revolution and is now the residence of the French Senate.

We walk on the crunchy gravel to the Grand Bessin at the centre of the park, where ducks preen themselves in the sun while a group of graduating school students gaggle on the stone steps awaiting a photograph, dressed in an assortment of cocktail wear. Black and purple stockings (or tights) seem to be popular on skinny girly legs as well as hair fascinators of feathered plumage and gemstones glittering on one side of their shiny, dark heads.

These very cool, adolescents looked and behaved like those strutting their stuff oh so nonchalantly on the catwalk of some high fashion parade. If only I could have placed one giant gilded frame over the entire graduating crowd, to capture their artistry and elegance forever.

So Parisian!…’

The Jardin Du Luxembourg is a sight to see.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

Awaken To The Passion Of The Rodin Museum

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, Paris, Paris gardens and all things green with tags , , , , , on December 14, 2009 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour mes amis,

First of all, I’ll continue with excerpts from the book I’m writing.I really hope you’re enjoying them. This one’s about getting up close and personal at the Rodin Museum. Oh and if you didnt realise by now,  my travel companion this time (and dear buddy) is named The’re’se. ( in short, Trees and Trays!)

Let me begin…

…’Outside, the Parisian Autumn air warmed through and we walked arm in arm towards the Rodin Museum “for a little culture.”

Once a private residence, the entry foyer to the Museum is a treat in itself with a large expanse of marble flooring and a stunning black wrought iron staircase winding up to Rodin’s most famous works, including” The Kiss”.

Set on an 18th century honey coloured parquetry floor under an enormous chandelier, “The Kiss “ must have inspired some passion in us as we came away and entered the garden itself. Let me explain.

The museum is tucked behind a walled garden in which many of Rodin’s sculptures, including “The Thinker” are showcased- many exceptionally moving, in all facets of emotion. We took numerous digital images of Auguste  Rodin’s  passion in stone and exuded some of our own passion ourselves. Needless to say, The’re’se planted her own passionate kiss (and I in turn) on one serious, aged male bronze monument guarding the garden on the western side. What laughs!

You had to be there to bear true testament to Christian Dior number 277 remaining on what I felt to be a now happier monument.

Naturally, we made the time to meander through the garden, with its tapestry of hundreds of roses, peonies, and hydrangeas surrounding fountains and ornamental pond. As if it wasn’t enough, we discovered, behind the ivy trellis right at the back, some lovely low wooden deck chairs. Under the filtered light of Linden trees, we had found the perfect hideaway in which to nestle for our afternoon repos…’

So, a trip to the Rodin Museum is a must when you’re next in paris. I hope it stirs some of the same passion in you that it did in us!

Au Revoir.

The're'se Exuding Some Passion

The're'se Exuding Some Passion

Best wishes,

Therese Waddell