Nature and the city
Everyone needs an escape.
Recently someone asked me what is my favourite place in Paris, a place where I feel at home?
Parc Floral is my own little ‘home away from home’. A place I retreat to for a vibrant dose of green, a place to recharge my senses among the pretty, comforting and vibrant surroundings. I enjoy walking under the immense pine trees feeling as little as ever, amused by the crunch of leaves under my feet and when I get good and ready I rest my back against one of them, taking in all about me, they are sturdy and reliant. I take in deep breaths of dried and sometimes musty leaves and other times it is the fragrant flowers that are always lingering by. I always regain a sense of ‘rootedness’ here, you will too.
Parc Floral sits elegantly in the heart of the Bois de Vincennes (The woods of Vincennes) and takes my fancy everytime. What is not to love? perching just at the East of Paris in a town called Vincennes that boasts both a Chateau which used to be the hunting lodge of the likes of Louis XIV and surrounding this an English style forest replete with immense pine trees.
Vincennes is what I consider to be the perfect suburb, one foot firmly just at the edge of Paris…a perfect escape from the whirr and buzz of the city and the other close enough to take part in it’s charms.
The website of Parc Floral describes it as “a precious and sublime encounter between nature and the city” and I couldn’t agree more!
As soon as the weather gets decent enough, worthy of packing a picnic basket and with a handful of friends, or even for a solo turn, this is where I head. It is nice to be able to sit on just about any spot of grass one feels like and it doesn’t hurt to have a vibrant waterfall not far away to give a zen-like feel.
For a bit more intimacy and privacy, I sit in one of the many valleys of flowers and journal to my hearts content. Nearby I eavesdrop on picnickers, giggling and jubilant for sunny days and there is always sure to be an impromptu strumming on the guitar, friends and family content in being together. But it is just as resplendid come Fall, when cherry trees are ripe with blossoms and the day may call for your favourite sweater.
The park itself has had several lives, if you will, but it’s modern day incarnation was created in 1969, on the occasion of the Third International Flower Show.
The Park is a harmonious, vibrant and beautiful setting that is tweeked with the seasons. It is a dose of magic that attracts thousands of visitors each year and is well known world wide particularly for its 3,000 myriad species of vegetation, flower and plant life. There is a conservatory for bonsai, a bee and ant farm, play areas peppered all about and even a pagoda. It is also host to varied symposiums and exhibits throughout the year. There is always something to discover for the curious- like the interesting little exhibits hanging from this or that tree, camelion like and random. But you won’t feel overwhelmed because there are 4 distinct landscaped areas that note a hint of Japanese influence that extends with splendour and ease.
Come summer time, The ‘Delta’, the 1,500-seat open air amphitheatre which overlooks the valley of flowers, stages free plays, concerts, puppet shows, magician shows and circus acts for children from May to September. Summer weekends also bring the Paris Jazz Festival and the Festival Classique au Vert, you can ‘dizzie up’ to get more than a birds eye view of renowned musicians or sit near the snake-like pond watching a little family of ducks paddle along all while hearing music that moves you. And what better to be in the good company of friends or family?
So, if you are a lover of nature, enjoy a good discovery and a lovely stroll, this park is a place for you. But then there is more, there is something for the little children in all of us…there is even a lovely white train that will take you around the entire park for a tour. Choo choo!
Esplanade du château de Vincennes Route de la Pyramide
Metro : Château de Vincennes
RER : Vincennes
Bus : 46, 11