Breakfast at the Jardin des Tuileries: created in 1564, (redesigned and) opened to the public in 1667, and still going strong. I just love the sense of history and permanence in Paris and other old European cities; it makes me feel safe, and part of the chain of humanity.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love Paris? I had almost forgotten myself, until we spent two very touristy and busy days there now in July, before flying further to Stockholm (and Seattle, for part of the family). Luckily, my girls, especially my cosmopolitan and artistic oldest, loved the city too with a passion, so I can hopefully look forward to some wonderful trips there when in Stockholm again - I can't believe it will be only 2.5 hours away then...
More from the Tuileries, designed by André Le Nôtre in 1664, with the enormous vases and now quite wildly planted "plate-bandes" that are parts of the majestically formal design.
View towards the Musée du Louvre; Parisians and tourists alike relax on the chairs generously strewn everywhere in the park.
Actually, my first memory of Paris involves getting lost in the Louvre. My siblings and I ran off from our parents without telling them where, eager to see the Mona Lisa (I was about ten years old then). Grown in a very small town as we were, we didn't quite grasp how enormous the old museum was - it would probably fill the whole city center of Turku. Of course, our parents panicked and were understandably upset and angry, when they found us two hours later, tired and scared, sitting in front of the famous painting and not knowing what to do or whom to ask for help.
Later, I travelled to Paris quite often during my years as a "business woman". As the Nordic Marketing Manager, I reported the European Director seated at the European headquarters at La Defense (the "business phase" of my life went over pretty fast, but I still smile at the memories of me and my laptop, traipsing around Europe and US trying to look very professional...). The best things from that time was that whenever possible, I saved the company money and "sacrificed" my free time by staying over the weekend in Paris - in those good old days, flight tickets were cheaper that way, not a bad way to be thrifty... And I can't ever forget a weeklong trip to Paris with my Art History professors; a full week of listening to their amazing stories about pretty much everything within art, history and architecture while walking through the streets and museums is one of my fondest memories of my years at the Stockholm University...
Musée du quai Branly on the edge of the Quai Branly and the Seine, and only hundred meters from the Eiffel Tower, has one of the lushest wall gardens on its façade.
The 200 meters long and 12 meter high green wall on the exterior of the museum was designed and planted by Gilles Clément and Patrick Blanch, masters of the vertical gardening. I do love it, but it looks at the same time... quite hirsute???
This time, I really wasn't on a garden trip, but have a couple of photos that I took along the way. Paris is extremely beautiful, even when we only got to the busy and most "tourist-affected" areas (we were tourists, too, I don't mean to be judgmental here...). What you need in these old European cities is time; time to walk, time to enjoy, time to find your own little sweet spots and haunts... the little cafes and special park benches, winding streets and surprising views. So even if I love Asia too, I really can't wait to be back in "good old Europe" at some stage, hopefully not all to far in the future, again.
What I love about Paris (and Stockholm, and many, many other old European cities) is the scale; four to six floors, almost no skyscrapers towering over the horizon and dwarfing the human beings. Also, I love the alleys, the parks and the plantings... and the way people make nests of their homes, with beautiful greenery flowing over (of course, this is the world of the lucky ones, but let me be a bit naïve for just a moment...). That's were I would like to live, in that apartment with the blooming balcony... Not likely, but at least I'll be able to visit more often from Stockholm.