It’s one of my favorite gardens and not just because Hemingway used to walk there, although, I admit, it does add to it’s appeal!
It’s a beautiful green manicured garden, with plenty of shade. It’s one of the few places you’ll see runners in Paris, usually on the outermost path. However, most people just wander.
There’s loads of green space, albeit only one or two are permitted to walk on. There’s many trees with benches and the ubiquitous green metal Parisian chairs. Whether you want to sun or keep cool in the shade, there’s many options and views.
Personally, I love to find some shade, pull up a chair and alternate between reading a book and people watching.
There’s many people who have their lunch here, but I recommend bringing your own…the prices from the vendors in the Jardin are outrageous! Most bring sandwiches from one of the boulangeries surrounding the gardens entrances and there are many toting their sacks from McDo (the French call it mick-dough) from across the street.
There’s many activities that take place here, hence the excellent people watching!
There’s the usual; solitary readers, couples strolling, friends chatting and families playing.
However, there’s a myriad of atypical activities too. There’s tennis courts and basketball courts. There’s tai chi classes and discussion groups.
For children, there’s several playgrounds (separated by age groups), yet another Parisian merry-go-round and the infamous marionette shows! I didn’t go to see it, but as I walked by, I could hear children laughing uproariously and shouting directions to the puppets on the stage. The shows seem to surpass language barriers as not all the shouts were French but I distinctly heard German and English hollering as well. There are also regular pony rides, which I imagine many parents succumb to in order to remain sane. The begging would be incessant after seeing these two lucky girls enjoying their ride!
Last, but certainly not least, is the still practiced tradition of sailing sailboats in the pond. You can rent the boats for a reasonable two euros for a half hour. They come with rubber-tipped stick used to push off the boats. The boats are mostly decorated by country flag and colors (no Canadian ones, as far as I could see!) but I did spot a vicious looking pirate one, complete with skull and crossbones once. I overheard (alright, eavesdropped) one Parisian father explaining the process to a visiting tourist and his son. He said that he used to come on week-end to sail the boats with his father and now he was doing the same with his son. When Shmoe saw the pictures I took of the sailing, his first comment was “oh, that’s so seventies!”, which would be be time of his childhood.
Despite being a city with a long history and iconic, permanent landmarks, it does seem to ever be evolving. It’s nice to know that, even with all the changes, some things remain the same.