Paris Journal 2013 – Barbara Joy Cooley                        Home:

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The four greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes captured our imaginations during the morning hours yesterday.  Generally featuring plants from tropical zones, this environment is inspiring for residents of a zone where the tropical meets the temperate (i.e., south Florida), and for two people who are in the act of buying a few acres of undeveloped land in such a meeting place.


Over and over, as we examined plants and scenes in the greenhouses, we thought, “oh the things we can do, with native plants, on our acres.”


We looked and dreamed, looked and schemed.


After hours of burning this psychic energy, we were hungry.  As hungry as a giant mammal.  So we went to dine at La Baleine (The Whale) in the Jardin des Plantes.


The food was great, and the service was not.  Our main courses in particular were lovely.  Mine was a traditional ragout of tomatoes and zucchini, with small chunks of roasted milk-fed lamb shoulder, served in a small cast iron pot:  simply roasted vegetables and meat, with no heavy starch.  The sauce was just the juice from the roasting vegetables.  For a slightly cool day, this warm, comforting country cuisine was just the thing.


The bread was the more rustic version of a baguette, sort of on the sourdough side.  Yummy.


Tom ordered the special of the day, which was salmon on a bed of smashed potatoes, in a pool of meat sauce.  This was also a fairly countrified way of serving salmon -- a delicious way.


We ordered just one café gourmand (an espresso with an assortment of three miniature desserts).  After a super long, long wait, we finally received TWO, not one, cafés gourmand.  The server claimed the kitchen was backed up, but when she brought the coffee, it was cold.  We asked for hotter coffee and received it.  We paid for both desserts, although we’d only ordered one.


No matter.  We were fortified and ready to see the Alpine Garden, which we’d not seen in many years.  Part of that time, this section of the Jardin des Plantes was being renovated.  Once again, we were delighted and mesmerized by the work of the gardeners.  This time, the plants reminded us of my gardens in the past in Ohio.  The Alpine Garden at the Jardin des Plantes is much more than Alpine; it includes all kinds of flowering plants from places where there is a real winter season.  Places like Ohio.


So after this good long visit with my friends, the plants I used to grow and nurture, we crossed the Jardin des Plantes and strolled through the rose garden.


We’d made it just in time, as the roses were starting to fade by early July.  Summertime is here. 


On the far side of the Gallery of Evolution we visited the Potager, or kitchen/soup garden – a whimsical place complete with a scarecrow.  We did see a number of crows yesterday, in fact.   But not in the Potager.


I’ve been amazed at how many mockingbirds we hear in this part of Paris.  Of course, we hear their heavenly songs elsewhere in Paris, from time to time, as we do in Sanibel.  But over here in this part of the 5th, there seem to be mockingbirds singing around every corner.  We hear them not just in the Jardin, but also in the area around the apartment on rue Lacépède


That reminds me of the sparrow who scolded us yesterday.  We were resting on a park bench in the allée of trees after seeing the Alpine Garden and before walking over to the Rose Garden.  We were minding our own business.


Then a well-nourished male sparrow suddenly appeared and chattered away at me as he stood close to my feet.  He looked up, scolded, and seemed to be saying, “If you are sitting there, you are supposed to feed me, you idiot!”


Frustrated after several minutes of us not feeding him, he hopped up into a hollow place in the plane tree next to us, above our heads.  He popped out frequently to see if we’d come to our senses yet.


No such luck for him.  Good Sanibelians do not feed wildlife.


You’ll see photos of these events from yesterday in coming days.  But I’m still catching up.  It takes time to process the photos.  I took 152 of them off the camera and put them onto the computer this morning, and had time to process only about 20 of them, mostly from Wednesday’s walk back from the 15th to the 5th arrondissement.


Parts of that walk involved gardens, too.  Tom’s favorite way to leave the 15th and enter the 7th as we walk toward the 6th  is to skirt around the back side of UNESCO, where we can peek over the wall and into the garden there.  Here’s the view.



UNESCO has been through years of renovation and facelifting, including this garden.  The garden is looking really good, but the overwhelming concreteness of the structures is still too harsh, I think.  Even so, it all makes for some fun photography.


The park that fills the triangular square near the Bon Marché department store, where the rue de Sevres and the rue de Babylone come together, is also a lovely garden.  I admire the artistic compositions made by the gardeners in the flowerbeds there.


Before we got there, I also admired the composition made by a florist at a shop called Happy, located on the Place Cambronne, where we’d dined at La Place for lunch on Wednesday.  Happy is chain of florist shops found throughout France.  I was pleasantly surprised at the shop’s reasonable prices.  Made me happy.


Looking through the fence at the back side of UNESCO, seeing the top of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.



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Friday, July 5, 2013


This photo is for my sister Carolyn, who loves the church of Saint Sulpice in the same way that I do.


Happy, all the time (7 days out of 7 days).  A florist shop on the Place Cambronne.



Flowerbed under a tree in the square at Sevres-Babylone.


Sedum growing atop a stone wall at UNESCO.


The first one to exit the caserne in dress uniform was a woman (on far right, hand extended). 





The one with the fancy epaulets is in charge.


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