Paris in spring, as in winter, offers endless opportunities to stimulate the senses. Here’s a stroll through seven experiences you can enjoy right now.
[note: normally I post on Thursday or Friday, but due to a change in personal plans, we decided to return to Felixstowe a few days earlier than expected. Somehow it’s already Monday so Happy Bank Holiday to UK readers and Happy Memorial Day to those in the USA.]
- Paris in spring: Tip of the Tower
You never know where you’ll glimpse the Eiffel Tower – riding a bus, rounding a corner or reaching the top of the metro steps.
In spring you may see the tip of the tower rising above chestnut and plane trees in their full bloom.
It’s quite a contrast to the view in winter.
- Paris in spring: Parks and gardens
Whether the larger parks and gardens or smaller squares all over the city, Paris’s green spaces are a joy year-round, including in spring.
You might even find a square with concrete benches made in the shape of open books.
Clive found an open book a good place to sit and read.
- Paris in spring: Café terraces
Café-sitting is a year-round Paris pastime, but in spring an extra magic seems to infuse the atmosphere, as everyone turns their face to the sun and soaks up the season’s natural warmth.
As I wrote in my previous post, ‘Vlad’s Back’, Clive and I were especially thrilled by our spring café visits this year thanks to the return of a favourite waiter.
- Paris in spring: Tea and pastries at Un Dimanche à Paris
I love everything about this chocolatier/patissier/tea salon, Un Dimanche a Paris: its location in Cour du Commerce Saint André, a cobblestoned courtyard in the heart of St.-Germain; the modern, warm design of the tea salon and restaurant; the mellow instrumental soundtrack playing softly in the background; the classy shop at the other end, which contains freshly-made, beautifully-displayed (with detailed descriptions in both French and English) pastries, chocolates and gift items; and most of all, of course, the mouth-tingling taste and texture sensations of the individual offerings, not only the pastries but also the homemade tea blends. As an added bonus, we were able to catch up with our friend Barb, who kindly took the above photo.
- Paris in spring: Art, outside
Approaching the Louvre through the arches of the Cour Carrée courtyard, the Pyramid — at least three sides of it – look the same as they always have.
When you stroll around to the part of the Pyramid facing the Tuileries, it seems the Pyramid has disappeared.
Louvre Disappearing Pyramid
This trompe l’oeil is the work of French street artist JR.
I love the actual Pyramid and its four-sided clarity, but also love that Paris encourages and supports the creation and display of so many different kinds of art.
Sculpture on the Pont des Arts
A temporary sculpture exhibition of works by French artist Daniel Hourdé is currently on display on the Pont des Arts.
This beautiful bridge is also a perfect place to stop and rest, admire the view in both directions and/or examine your macarons (we saved them for later but I couldn’t resist opening the box to admire them).
The real beauty: Pont des Arts, uncluttered
Best of all, the most beautiful spectacle is simply the recently-uncluttered Pont des Arts itself. Well done, Paris.
- Paris in spring: Art, inside
A visit to the Musée Marmottan, a favourite mall museum with a large permanent Monet collection, never disappoints.
In addition to viewing excellent temporary exhibits (the current one is depicted above), you can linger in the Monet galleries on the lower level and the Berthe Morisot rooms on the first floor.
The Marmottan gift shop / bookshop is one of my favourite museum shops in Paris, loaded with books in English as well as French (many related to Monet, of course, and Impressionism), gifts and stationery. The art-related notebooks and paper goods are irresistible.
- Paris in spring: Statue of Ben Franklin at Trocadéro
Ben – as I refer to and think of this statue — is looking good at present, though we think he still needs a green-clean. He’s newly-landscaped but his grass still needs cutting.
Over the years, I’ve developed huge affection for this modest memorial to a monumental American and friend of France. Ben has undergone significant upheaval in recent years. This will be the subject of a future post.
Please be sure, if you find yourself at Trocadéro for one of Paris’s best views of the Eiffel Tower, to pop across the street and say hello to Ben.
He sits peacefully on his hillside, a wise and reassuring presence watching over his little corner of Paris.
Merci, Ben and merci, Paris. Until next time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little taste of spring sensations in Paris.
Cheers and thanks for reading. My next letter will be from Felixstowe.