Paris Lessons: Public Gardens and City Life

Flowers in Luxembourg Gardens Paris. Photo by Donna L. Long, 2014. All rights reserved.
Flowers in Luxembourg Gardens Paris. Photo by Donna L. Long, 2014. All rights reserved.

One of the best things about living in the 6th arrondissement, is the Luxembourg Gardens. The Luxembourg Gardens were a ten-minute walk from the small boutique hotel we stayed in. For several afternoons, we ended our action-packed days lounging on comfortable park benches. The park was full of Parisians of various ages enjoying the sun, watching people, eating ice cream, and watching birds.

A marionette show at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Photo by Donna L. Long , 2014. All rights reserved.
A marionette show at the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Photo by Donna L. Long , 2014. All rights reserved.

A lovely public garden or park in my neighborhood would add greatly to life in the city. Green 2015, an independent study commissioned by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation  Department, founded that one in eight city residents do not have access to a public green space within in a ten-minute walk from home.  That means over 200,000 people in various areas of the city. I know that some of the “newer” sections of the city, including mine, lack a public park. My neighborhood was incorporated into the city from three farming communities in the 1920’s. The Mayor’s plan here in Philadelphia is to add 500 new acres of public green space to the city by 2015.

The Luxembourg Gardens are full of neighborhood people. The palm trees are only out during the warm months.
The Luxembourg Gardens are full of neighborhood people. The palm trees are only out during the warm months.

The Parisian residents of the 6th arrondissements I met, were very proud of the beautiful well-cared for Luxembourg Gardens. It is considered one the most beautiful parks in Paris. I actually chose our hotel because of the close proximity to the park. I have chosen hotels in other cities based on the closeness of a public park.

Plenty of Gendarmes (French National Police) guard the Luxembourg Palace, home of the French Senate.
Plenty of Gendarmes (French National Police) guard the Luxembourg Palace, home of the French Senate.

The Luxembourg Gardens are also the site of an open secret; the French ‘CIA’ has it’s headquarters underneath the Luxembourg Palace in the park. The Palace was a former royal residence. The gendarmes (French national police) don’t let anyone get too close to the building. The police presence is heavy. It is necessary in just about any urban park in the world. The serious city police officers patrol the park all day. I felt safe with them around. The park gates are closed at sunset.

House Sparrow in Luxembourg Gardens. House Sparrows are native to Europe not North America. Photo by Donna L. Long, 2014. All rights reserved.
House Sparrow in Luxembourg Gardens. House Sparrows are native to Europe not North America. Photo by Donna L. Long, 2014. All rights reserved.

Paris Lesson: Green spaces add to the quality of life of area residents. Green natural spaces are calming and stress-reducing. And if those parks and public spaces are planted with mostly native trees and plants, birds, butterflies and other native animals should take up residence.

Neighborhood residents relax on a sunny afternoon in the Luxembourg Gardens. Photo by Donna L. Long, 2014. All rights reserved.
Neighborhood residents relax on a sunny afternoon in the Luxembourg Gardens. Photo by Donna L. Long, 2014. All rights reserved.

I kept imagining how relaxing it would be to have a lovely, well-cared for public park to walk to after dinner or a stressful day at work. Would your neighborhood or town benefit from a public park?

The Luxembourg Gardens Visitor Site (in French)

2 comments

    • Hi, Jane
      There are new parks created regularly. I am glad Mayor Nutter even thought of the idea. The natural areas of Philadelphia parks by city ordinance must use local native species in habitat restoration or re-plantings. I have seen many native plants in the parks and public gardens. I do hope that trend continues.
      Happy New Year,
      Donna

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