(Jardin des Tuilleries)
I tried to walk off my dinner from last night by covering six arrondissements today, about a 10 mile journey in total. The only problem with this plan is that I'm also trying not to look like a tourist and am wearing shoes that are more "Parisian looking." (I might also need to rethink wearing my wide-angle lens camera around my neck while I'm walking.) I'm certain it's the shoes that will give me away, so I can't possibly think of wearing comfortable tennis shoes.
Something else must be going wrong though, because the street vendors---you know the ones selling the Eiffel Tower key rings or that will sketch you "for free"--- they've started yelling, "Yes we can! Obama, Obama." when I walk by. First of all, how could they possibly think that I am American? Don't they see the trendy black flats? And, why do they think that by cheering for Obama, this will get me, or any other American, to buy their stuff? Ya, I guess the trendy black flats idea isn't quite helping me blend. And now, the two blisters I have on the ball of my left foot have turned into three.
(Square Vert Galant)
Instead of locating my list of 20 chocolate shops today, I spent a lot of time sitting on park benches resting my feet. (I also realize that if I had found the 20 chocolate shops, I would have sabotaged my plan to walk off last night's dinner.)
(Square Rene Viviani)
Instead of chocolate, (you're getting sick of seeing all the food anyway, right?) I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite parks in Paris. It's amazing how many parks there are in this city. Sometimes you're walking down the street and there's a tiny park, crammed into a corner or nestled in between two buildings. Just around the corner from where I'm staying is a little park with a play area for kids and benches everywhere. And, it's right in the middle of an intersection of three large and busy streets. Trees and flowers in full bloom create a border to block out the chaos of the streets outside. Even better are the ponds and fountains, which seem to wash away the noise and pollution. I noticed that some of the parks even have WiFi access. Not all of them, but the ones that do have a purple sign at the entrance informing you that they have WiFi and giving you the access code. If only WiFi in Italy could be so easy to find.
(Square de la Tour de Saint Jacques)
Here are my top park picks in Paris. These are great places to picnic, share a bottle of wine, eat a pastry, read your email or a book, watch the city go buy, or just rest your blistered feet.
- Jardin du Luxembourg (6th arrondissement)-- massive park with many fountains, ponds, benches and chairs. It's where you'll find crowds whenever the sun is shining.
- Champ de Mars (7th arrondissement) -- Long expanse of a park where you can sit on the grass with the Eiffel Tower looming over you. This is THE place to be on Bastille day to picnic all day long, and in the evening enjoy the fireworks with the swarms of other holiday revelers.
- Square de la Tour de Saint Jacques (4th arrondissement)--small park off the Rue du Rivoli surrounding the Tower of Saint Jacques (the only thing that remains of the Church of Saint Jacques)
- Square Rene Viviani (5th arrondissement)--this park sits on the Quai Montebello right across from Notre Dame. You can sit in the quiet square, work on your computer (it has WiFi), and gaze at the Rose Window.
- Jardin Marco Polo (6th arrondissement)--right outside the Jardin du Luxemburg heading toward Blvd. Montparnasse, this garden has the Fountain of the Four Parts of the World. The mist from the running fountain will cool you off on a hot day.
- Jardin du Palais Royal (1st arrondissment)--with flowers in spring and summer and small fountains
- Place des Vosges (4th arrondissement) -- many trees for you to find shade and a fountain at each corner of the square.
- Square Vert-Galant (1st arrondissement)--at the end point of the Ile de la Cite, you can reach this garden at the middle of the Pont Neuf. It's a great place to share a bottle of wine and watch the sun set.
- Square Jean XXIII (4th arrondissement) -- behind the cloister of Notre Dame, this park has a view of the flying buttresses of Notre Dame. It also has Wifi access.
- Jardin des Tuilleries (1st arrondissement)--one of the biggest and most popular gardens in Paris. You have ponds, lawns, chairs, sculptures, flowers and a view of the Louvre and its Pyramid.
(Jardin du Luxembourg)