Monthly Archives: August 2014

Formal Garden of Versailles

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Ordinarily I’m not a big fan of formal gardens. English country is more my style, and the more informal the better. However, I’ve always heard that the Palace of Versailles was where formal gardens reached their zenith, and having seen this one, I have to agree. I had already walked down lanes lined with boxwood clipped to towering perfection, gazed upon fountains of unbelievable size and grandeur, and strolled through impressive areas surrounded by statuary that were a living classroom in the art of impact through repetition. I thought I had seen the best that Versailles had to offer before I decided to explore one more path and gaze over one more terrace railing, just to see if there might be one more thing worth seeing. And there below me was a reward that took my breath away and left me staring in amazement. A picture can’t do it justice, but I took one anyway. I’m all about flowers, and there wasn’t a flower in sight, but it didn’t matter. It was beauty, symmetry, peace and poetry.

I still may not be a huge fan of formal gardens, but there is one that has my heart and always will. And I am infinitely glad I heard it whispering to me and sought it out.

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Gardens of Notre Dame

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I recently spent a couple of weeks in Europe. I saw a lot of beautiful things, unbelievable architecture, ruins from ancient Rome, medieval cities with their walls still surrounding them, but amid it all, there were gardens. I went to Notre Dame in Paris, and most of my pictures were of the flowers surrounding it.

In fact, among the most impressive things I saw in Paris were the many, large elaborate gardens that were filled each day with the people of the city. Older couples sat quietly on benches. Mothers watched their children at the playgrounds. People relaxed around the fountains, lounging in chairs while birds swam and young boys sailed wooden boats. The surrounding trees were tall and lush, and the wide paths were lined with limestone pebbles. Whatever time of day we went, the clean, well-maintained parks were filled with citizens and tourists alike quietly enjoying themselves in the obviously much used and cherished gardens.

So, if you have a chance to visit Paris, be sure to take a stroll, find a garden, and relax awhile. Pull up a chair and nap by a fountain, or throw a few crumbs to the birds. If you’re patient, the sea gulls will catch bread crusts from your fingertips as they fly by.

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