Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Les Serres d'Auteuil

For the last day of February, Paris taunted me. The day started sunny with blue skies but by 10:00, it had all gone south. The sun disappeared and a damp chill swept in, sending me running for thicker socks, a warmer scarf, and the gloves that I had discarded last week. Fortunately, I'd already made a plan to visit the greenhouses (les serres) in the Jardin d'Auteuil, abutting the Bois de Boulogne in the lower 16th. Originally a huge botanic garden in the time of Louis XV, time and urban development gradually reduced the size of the gardens. But there's still plenty to see here, at least for the next year or so. The recent decision by the French Tennis Federation to keep the French Open (known here by its location, Roland Garros) in the city of Paris means that the gardens will once again be reduced in size, this time to make way for tennis courts and the foot traffic engendered by an international sporting event. (If you want to know more about the controversy, you can read all about it the New York Times story.)

So my advice to you is to get off your duff and make your way to Auteuil as soon as possible, or at the very least sometime this spring when the outdoor gardens will begin to bloom in earnest. What's more, entrance to the greenhouses is free and open 364 days a year (Christmas excepted) from 9:00 am to 4:45 pm.

And here's a hot tip: in the biggest greenhouse known as the Palmarium, there are tables and chairs just waiting for you to come have a picnic. It's strictly BYOB (and for that matter everything else too) but absolutely allowed. Doesn't that sound better than a cup of crummy Parisian coffee on a terrasse filled with smokers?

Metro: Porte d'Auteuil
Free entry


Andrea said...

I didn't know they are planning to build in the jardin d'Auteuil. I live just down the road from there and visit often. It'll never be the same. Sad.

Mlle Norvegienne said...

This sounds like a lovely place (except for the tennis thing), I will def. visit next time i'm in Paris! thanks for the tip :-)

Harriet said...

Being in a garden environment is good for the soul. I wish I could have been on the visit with you.

Starman said...

"crummy Parisian coffee". Someone had a bad experience it seems.

Anne said...

Starman: I will just say that you don't come to Paris for the coffee.

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