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Picking Paris Poppies

Last year, about this time, early on a Saturday morning walking down rue de Turenne, I noticed a young woman placing silk red long-stemmed poppies into a blob of putty every few feet along the sidewalk. The flowers stretched all the way down to rue de Rivoli and when I arrived at Place du Marché Sainte Catherine, not only were all the streets ribboned with the red flowers, but the entire place was planted in a sea of poppies.

By 10 a.m., the flowers had been “picked” by passers-by and the mounds of putty had been smeared on the sidewalks like doggy poop. People were carrying one or more flowers…everywhere I went.

Then it dawned on me…that weekend was the annual Fête des Jardins, where the “gardeners of France share their secrets.” How incredulous that the city would go to the trouble and expense of distributing flowers all over town for the promotion of the festival and the sheer pleasure of the happiness it brings.

The 7th annual festival takes place this coming weekend, September 26, 27 and 28, with one day devoted exclusively to the vines of Paris. It’s an occasion for the public to meet gardeners in a “musical, poetic and theatrical environment.” Garden and landscape designers, lecturers and organizers of the city of Paris will be sharing their know-how and creativity — they will answer your questions about their work of embellissement of the parks and gardens, the heritage of vegetation in Paris and in general, on nature in the city.

More than 600 free exhibitions will be offered in the gardens of Paris — stories, poetry, theater, games, excursions in Paris, gardening workshops, bee-keeping demonstrations, plus more than 100 artists will show their work in the gardens of the Capital. Guided tours (some in English) will be available by lecturers and gardeners of the “Direction des Parcs, Jardins et Espaces Verts de la Mairie de Paris.” Special provisions are being made so that the blind and deaf will be able to follow some of the visits. Many gardens normally closed to the public (particularly certain religious congregations) will be open for viewing on Sunday.

Here are a few highlights not to miss:

On Friday celebrate the “Journée de la Vigne,” by discovering the vines of Paris at the Parc de Bercy (12th), in Montmartre (18th), at the Parc de Belleville (20th) and Parc Georges Brassens (15th).

The superb landscape garden from the 30’s of l’Hôtel Massa (38 rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques, 14th) will open its doors for the first time to the public Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The film “La croisière Jaune” will be projected on an open-air screen by the team of Cinésites au Parc André Citroën (15th) Friday and Saturday nights at 9:30 p.m.

The “village” of the “Fête des Jardins” will take place just in front of Notre-Dame Saturday and Sunday with avec 40 stands surrounding an artistic garden, manned by the gardeners, floriculturalists and horticulturists.

For complete information (in French) and for a complete guide in pdf format

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. For those of you who remember when I first planted geraniums in the window boxes, you’ll be happy to know they have survived this summer’s intense heat and are once again filled with bright red flowers. I’ll happily take your suggestions on how best to save them over the winter! Just write me. Thanks!

* * *

* Further resources:

* Book your < a href="/parlerparis/guidedtours/skyvue.html">Adventures for dates between October 16 and October 30th and receive a 50% discount!

* Enjoy total elegance and luxury at the doorstep of Notre Dame and the famous Shakespeare and Company

* Learn things about Paris you never expected to know…realizing the true depth of this magnanimous city.

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