Languishing at the Luxembourg Gardens

In his wonderful book Paris to the Moon, Adam Gopnik returns over and over again to the Luxembourg Gardens. And with good reason: This park is one of Paris’ most beautiful, most popular public spaces.

Esteban and I ended up there today by default. We’d planned on getting out of town — maybe to Chartres, or Strasbourg — but we weren’t motivated enough to get out the door early and onto a train.

Plan B consisted of an aimless walk through our neighborhood. I loved spotting one of the old street signs I’ve been photographing all over Paris, along with another addition to my “cool menu handwriting” collection.

I also enjoyed gawking at the gorgeous architectural details that adorn almost every apartment building. I wonder if the residents even notice them?

But the highlight of my day was seeing the Luxembourg Gardens again. I was delighted to find some color still clinging to the trees and planters.

But a few other parts of the grounds seemed barren already, as if winter had tiptoed in when no one was looking. Even the statues looked a little bit subdued.

In spite of the gray skies and intermittent rain, though, the people-watching was as good as ever.

At one point I suddenly remembered my “100 inconnus à Paris” project. I approached a group of officers who were chatting nearby.

“I’m trying to photograph 100 strangers before I leave Paris,” I told them as I decided whom to shoot. “I haven’t photographed a cop yet, so would you be willing to oblige?”

“We’re not cops,” said my intended victim. “Well … whatever you are, I haven’t shot one of you yet. Would you mind terribly?” He didn’t mind at all. In fact, he turned out to be a bit of a ham. Merci, monsieur.

On our way out of the park we accidentally stumbled across the apiary. Having a bee colony in the middle of an urban park is rare. Offering the public courses in beekeeping? Extraordinary. Alas, today the bees were asleep.

On our way to the gate, we made one final stop to look at the braille map of the park. I wondered how anyone would be able to “see” this map with their fingers and keep it in their head long enough to navigate the grounds.

As we exited the gate, I found it hard to believe we’d spent three hours languishing in this park. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon in Paris, we agreed.

Tomorrow will be Esteban’s and my last day in Paris. I’m heartbroken to have to leave and have already cried my first farewell tears.

One last time: À demain, mes amis.


  1. Hahaha… what a great sport the “non-policman” was!!! great photographs ….. I’m sooooo sad that you are leaving, have been enjoying your adventures immensly!!! – ( can’t even imagine then how sad you must be!!! 😉 ) **

    • I hate to admit it, but you really *can’t* imagine how sad I am. I’ve been crying pretty much nonstop since last night. My poor husband! But it’s become clear to both of us that it’s time to make some changes in our lives. Hopefully one of these days that will mean making the announcement, “We’re moving to Paris!”
      As always, thanks for coming along on our adventures. 🙂

  2. Sighhh…what a lovely walk I have just enjoyed with you! As usual, it’s hard to single out favourite photos from your many wonderful, thoughtful or amusing images. The statuary and the orange flowers in rows of urns are hard to beat, though.

    We have our first snow this week – I imagine there might be a bit waiting for you back home too!

    • I’ve indeed heard that there’s quite a pile of the white stuff waiting for us at home. I have a feeling there won’t be enough French chocolate in the world to thank my friend Uta for shoveling our walk. And I also have a feeling I’ll be awash in tears on the plane tomorrow. It gets harder to leave each time …


      • Oh, poor you, I feel for you. A virtual hug winging your way…! And there should be a little souvenir de Paris awaiting you when you get home. x

        • You’re so incredibly kind, DB — and I know you understand. Thank you *so* much for the virtual hug … it’s really needed today. Esteban and I have just arrived home, so I’m eager to dive into the mail and see what treasure awaits. Please expect a personal note shortly. 🙂

  3. Lovely to see the gardens (and the gardiens) again; although Acis and Galatea look even more vulnerable than usual surrounded by leafless trees. For what it’s worth, my favourite image in this collection is the one with the lady pulling the reluctant dog. I’m sorry you are leaving Paris, although I suspect that we might be savouring it for a little longer. I hope you have a safe trip home to your memories. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Xpat. You were on my mind yesterday afternoon, actually: Esteban and I spent a couple of hours near the Pont Bir Hakeim. It still hasn’t changed much since you shot your iconic photo 30 years ago.

      As for my departure: I’m not eager to return home. (In fact, I’ve been rather weepy at the thought.) But as you say, I’ll continue posting photos and anecdotes for a while. I’ve fallen hopeless behind in my blogging … hope you’ll stay tuned for a while longer. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing the ‘other side’ of the park. It’s just a beautiful in the winter as it is in the spring. Oh, and I have one of those old street signs too. And you’re leaving already??? I’m sad. Hope you’ll post more photos and share more of your stories when you return to the States.

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