Archive for the 'The Great Outdoors' Category


The Last of Summer

August is a famously sleepy month in Paris, the time when the juilletistes (those French who take their summer holidays in July) switch places with the aoûtiens (pronounced “ah-oo-sien”, who prefer their vacation in August). Small shops may close for the month, and bakeries go on rotation. Even some cultural institutions go into standby mode. […]

Go Fish?

Ever wonder why so few people fish in the many waters in Paris? Maybe because there ARE NO FISH?! This seasoned fisherman, having bought a rod in the specialty store Des Poissons Si Grands (in the 7th), cast his lures in three different spots this past weekend: The Seine, the Canal St. Martin, and the […]

Open-Air Swimming on the Seine

Along the quai in the 13th arrondissement (across from the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand), you will see the entrance to the Piscine Joséphine Baker, a 25 x 10-meter swimming pool perched on the River Seine. The pool is open year-round but it’s a particular joy in the summer when the glass roof is opened to allow […]

The Unofficial Flower of Paris

We’ve seen them on boats. We’ve seen them on the façades of chic hotels. We’ve seen double-decker arrangements of window boxes. Why is the geranium so popular in Paris? For one thing, as Anne Wilkinson points out in The Passion for Pelargoniums, it is “easy to grow, easily available, and stands up to a considerable […]

The Central Park of Paris?

6km to the north-east of Paris, the Parc Georges-Valbon is so big that it spreads across the territories of five suburban towns. With the future Grand Paris aiming to redynamise the region, it is perhaps not surprising that such a facility should become one of the new focal points, and plans are afoot to transform […]

Hit the Beach!

Every summer since 2002, Paris closes off sections of its quais to traffic and transforms the riverbank along the Seine into “Paris Beach.” Paris Plage started up again a fortnight ago (July 19th) and will run through August 17th. Paris Plage runs roughly from the Louvre to the Pont de Sully, about 2 kilometers east. There is also […]

Have a Seat

Park chairs, known as Luxembourg chairs, come in upright and relaxed models in a restful shade of green. Today, these are manufactured by a company called Fermob. According to the Fermob website, “the legendary chairs and armchairs of the Jardin du Luxembourg [were] created in 1923 in the Paris parks department workshops, and…Fermob still manufactures […]

Eiffel Tower Skating Rink

Can’t make it to the Alps for a winter sport vacation? There’s another option high in the air for enjoying leisure time in the great outdoors. Almost 200 feet up off the ground, the Eiffel Tower skating rink allows you to swirl and slide inside the monument itself. Open through February!

Setting Sail

It’s been an exceptionally warm and sunny fall this year, and I have been taking advantage of it by being outdoors as much as I can. Some of my favorite places to be in this kind of weather are the Parisian parks and gardens. I especially love to go to the Luxembourg Gardens and the […]

The Greening of Paris

Many sick old trees around Paris were cut down over the summer, their trunks dug up and fresh soil laid down to prepare for the fall plantings. Fences such as this keep people out of the dirt. But in the mean time, with all of the rain and sunshine we had in August they sprouted […]

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