Sunday, April 24, 2016

Paris Places: Parc Monceau

The oldest tree in Parc Monceau, planted in 1814
Another one of my favorite lunch-time haunts is Parc Monceau, especially now in the springtime. I think it's perhaps the most beautiful park in Paris, a bouquet of flowers, greenery, and trees--one more than 200 years old.

The English-style garden is strew with what looks like ancient ruins, which gives my haunt a haunted look. They are "follies," or replicas of ruins to give it that Greco-Roman look, popular when the park was designed in the 18th century. You'll find an Egyptian pyramid, a Chinese fort, a Dutch windmill, and Corinthian pillars.

The closest thing in Pittsburgh might be Highland Park. (OK, it's a stretch, but I had to fit the reference to the 'Burg in somehow!)

Although you can see the gilded gates from the Arc de Triomphe, it's devoid of tourists.* Instead, you'll find working stiffs like me out for a bag lunch on the green, school children running around at recess, and parents and babies out for some air.

Last week, I took my first jog in ages on the path that rings the park, swerving the walkers, baby buggies--and two children who were shouting at me!

"What's wrong?" I asked. They jumped up and down and said, "Are you part of the race?" "Yes," I said, knowing by their smiles that they were pulling my leg. "Then you have to take the detour over there, or it doesn't count!"

To their delight, I played their game, and took the slightly longer route. To my delight as well.


*One reason Parc Monceau is empty of tourists is probably that the golden gates are always shut, making it appear closed from afar. To enter, use one of the discrete side entrances that are open during daylight year-round. If natural beauty isn't enough to attract you to this living monument, there's always the free Wi-Fi!
----------------
Rose Marie Burke, an editor and journalist, writes a blog about her personal insights into life in Paris. After 20 years in the City of Light, she still calls her native Pittsburgh "home." Want to follow this blog? Find me on LinkedIn, email me at rose.burke89 "at" yahoo.fr, or follow me on Google+.