Paris in Spring: Seven Sensations

Spring afternoon in the Luxembourg Garden, Paris

Spring afternoon in the Luxembourg Garden, Paris

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.]

  1. Paris in spring: Tip of the Tower
Above the trees: tip of the Eiffel Tower, May 2016

Above the trees: tip of the Eiffel Tower, May 2016

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.

Through the trees: view of the Eiffel Tower, December 2015

Through the trees: view of the Eiffel Tower, December 2015

  1. Paris in spring: Parks and gardens
Children’s boats in the Luxembourg Garden, Paris

Children’s boats in the Luxembourg Garden (where I also saw two special people from Michigan), Paris

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.

Evening in the Tuileries, Paris

Evening in the Tuileries, Paris

Hanging out in the Ranelagh Gardens, Paris

Hanging out in the Ranelagh Gardens, Paris

You might even find a square with concrete benches made in the shape of open books.

Benches in the shape of an open book, Square Gabriel-Pierné, Paris

Benches in the shape of an open book, Square Gabriel-Pierné, Paris

Clive found an open book a good place to sit and read.

Clive reading on an open book, Square Gabriel-Pierné, Paris

Clive reading on an open book, Square Gabriel-Pierné, Paris

  1. Paris in spring: Café terraces
A sun-soaked café terrace, Paris

Sun on a café terrace, Paris

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.

  1. Paris in spring: Tea and pastries at Un Dimanche à Paris
Pastries at Un Dimanche à Paris (and merci to our friend Barb for the photo)

Pastries at Un Dimanche à Paris (and merci to our friend Barb for the photo)

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.

Un Dimanche à Paris in the cobblestoned Cour du Commerce Saint Andre, Paris (the arch leads through to Blvd. St.-Germain)

Un Dimanche à Paris in the cobblestoned Cour du Commerce Saint Andre, Paris (the arch leads through to Blvd. St.-Germain)

  1. Paris in spring: Art, outside
Silhouette of the Louvre Pyramid from Cour Carrée

Silhouette of the Louvre Pyramid from Cour Carrée

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

The Louvre Pyramid 'disappears'

The Louvre Pyramid ‘disappears’

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

Sculpture on the Pont des Arts, Paris

Sculpture on the Pont des Arts, Paris

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).

Macarons from Un Dimanche à Paris on the Pont des Arts

Macarons from Un Dimanche à Paris on the Pont des Arts

The real beauty: Pont des Arts, uncluttered

Uncluttered beauty of the Pont des Arts

Uncluttered beauty of the Pont des Arts

Best of all, the most beautiful spectacle is simply the recently-uncluttered Pont des Arts itself. Well done, Paris.

  1. Paris in spring: Art, inside

17 Marmottan 2016 May

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.

  1. Paris in spring: Statue of Ben Franklin at Trocadéro
Statue of Ben Franklin at Trocadéro, Paris

Statue of Ben Franklin at Trocadéro, Paris

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.

Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro, Paris

Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro, Paris

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.

4 Responses

  1. Do hope all is well.

    On Mon, May 30, 2016, 5:28 PM My Sydney Paris Life wrote:

    > Carolyn posted: ” 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 ” >

  2. great post. I have never seen the Ben statute on all my visits. Love Musee Marmorean

  3. darn spell check Marmottan

  4. Esme, welcome! and thanks for your kind comment.

    Isn’t Marmottan the best!?! Hope you have a chance to say hello to Ben sometime 🙂 I’ll be posting about him again soon,

    Cheers and happy travels in Paris.

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