| image courtesy of Nicole Jansma |

While I am busy getting my garden ready for spring here at home, I admit I am day dreaming about Parisian parcs and gardens. I draw inspiration from the perfectly imperfect gardens throughout Paris and beyond the city boundaries, and try to work some of that French je ne sais quoi into my own little corner of the world.

There is a sort of formula to the French garden. Pea gravel, sculptural hedges, a cohesive floral color story, iconic green metal chairs scattered just so, a patina'd fountain, and a collection of statues. All with a magic combination, each with a completely different vibe. Most of these gardens have come together in a wholistic way after living and growing a lifetime. And one or all of these elements can be thrown together in your own way, using one or more of these Parisian garden tricks.

Whenever I travel to Paris, I like to soak up as much design inspiration as I can, and outside of the architecture, markets and museums, I always make a point of visiting a different parc. After all of these years, I could never choose a favorite one, each one is as beautiful as the next. Some are more hidden, some have more to offer when I am in Paris with my children, some beg for a picnic blanket, good music on my headphones and a glass of wine while watching the people go by. All are magic.

Follow along for a guide to my favorite Parisian parcs.

Jardin des Plantes

In the Latin Quarter lies greenhouses, an anatomy museum, La Grande Mosquee, and of course, many gardens full of flora and fauna. This garden has been open to the public for 400 years, and offers so much to learn of diverse botany, not to mention is just a pure feast for the eyes. I allowed myself to get completely lost while wandering the Jardin des Plantes. The thing that struck me the most was the vast knowledge that has been cultivated and passed along throughout the centuries. Walking through the avenue of trees, I could literally feel the history. I highly recommend listening to a symphony on your headphones, and spending a day walking and getting wrapped up in the beauty. 

 

| image courtesy of Marissa Wu |

Jardin des Tuileries

I had a chance opportunity to visit Jardin des Tuileries one year in the spring, and I wondered if I had walked into my own personal dreamworld. Exploding in colour in the most chic French way, I wandered from garden bed to garden bed in awe of the planning that was clearly set into motion decades earlier. I later learned that each garden bed changes with inspiration set from varying collections in The Musee de Louvre. A very green and serene space existing in such a way in the middle of the city is such a treat.  Expect extremely manicured and formal scapes enjoyed by museum visitors and Parisians alike. 

| image courtesy of Landen Kerr |

Luxembourg Gardens

My favorite parc in Paris to go to with my children. Endless stretches of green space, benches to sit and watch the world walk by, statues, beautiful flowers. The gardens are lined and scattered with the ubiquitous sage green chairs, and as you traipse through the grounds you will see chess games in action. And yes, the kids can sail the wood sailboats in the Grand Bassin duck pond. It is the parc in Paris that keeps everyone in the family happy.

| image courtesy of Leonce Chenal / photography by Boris Kotelskiy |

| image courtesy of The Londoner |

Parc Montsouris

Inspired by Napoleon III, and located near University of Paris, Parc Montsouris reminds me of a much smaller Central Park. The paths are filled with runners, there is a lake in the center, and the grounds are lovingly cared for and very mature. Designed by Haussmann in the 19th century, the parc is filled with gingko trees and gorgeous flower beds, and has statues scattered throughout. This Parisian parc is off the beaten path at the outer edge of the city, but the architecture of the surrounding residential areas is eclectic and quirky, and perhaps not anything you would see unless you purposely searched it out.

| image courtesy of Landen Kerr |

Parc Monceau

 Located in the 8th arrondissement, Parc Monceau is a favorite for locals. It has a more informal layout, and has many follies more known to English gardens than French. It has a very rich history, that you can feel the moment you step foot in its gated grounds. This parc has inspired many paintings over the course of its centuries, and it is not hard to see why. Surrounded by stately homes, and a metro stop right by the grounds, it is an easy spot to recharge during a busy day in the city. This is my favorite parc to bring a picnic and a bottle of champagne, and let myself get swept up with the romance of my surroundings.

| image courtesy of Joowbar |

Bonne Voyage!

xoxo Sarah

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Sarah Guenter
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