"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Friday, September 23, 2011

An Urban Garden

A view of Musee du Louvre, from Le Jardin des Tuileries

"Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity."
- John Ruskin

Paris is one of the most urbane cities in the world - sleek, sophisticated, cutting edge, and elegant. But 'She', and her denizens, also stubbornly insist on nurturing and living an Old World aesthetic - an intense, profound, and effortless sense and sensibility of the beautiful. One of the myriad of ways that Parisians accomplish this is with flowers, gardens and parks. Everytime I visit, I am taken aback, anew, at how Paris is an Urban Garden...

Au nom de la Rose (in the name of a Rose)

Au nom de la Rose is a small chain of Parisian floral boutiques that features Roses and only Roses. Not only can you get the most gorgeous Roses, the shop carries a dizzying array of Rose inspired wares: perfume, bubble bath, perfumed candles, a rose syrup to put in champagne, scarves, sachets, jam, hats, handbags, tote bags, even china - and their prices are pretty reasonable. But Au nom de la Rose is contemporary Paris.

Old World Paris can be found in every arrondissement, where there are at least two (usually more) floral shops, that carry an impressive, amazing array of flowers...

In Paris, flowers are not just plentiful and varied, they are also affordable. And you see them everywhere...

Small arrangements on most restaurant tables

This glorious arrangement sits in the cafeteria style cafe in Musee Rodin's gardens. There's a matching arrangement next to the cash register - WOW.

Potted flowers seem to spring from the front of every building... 

These red Geraniums cover the building that houses my favorite cafe. Every morning my tiny cafe table was covered with petals. And Coco and I always left with red petals in our hair.  But not Mr. Gorgeous, probably because he has no hair ;-)

This breathtaking arrangment of potted Orchids and Bamboo adorn the nearly dozen windows on the front of this building, aptly on rue Ville du Temple. Who knew you could grow Orchids this way? Amazing!

Many shops, buildings, and random walls are simply covered with Ivy.

And this Old World floral aesthetic is also expressed in small ways...

One afternoon we stopped to get the children ice cream.
The young lady behind the counter created an ice cream flower on a cone for Sage.


Mom taking in a memorial for Salvador Allende.
This is on a busy street corner.

Then there are the parks. While some have more than others, every arrondissement has parks - tucked in between buildings and behind walls. And most are open to all...

Mom, taking it all in.

When I'm away from Paris, I miss so many things. But I must say that I probably miss the Urban Garden most of all. You don't fully realize it, until you're away, how positively it affects your life to be surrounded by flowers and green all of the time. It's always a delight to the eye, soothing for the soul.

Even in the heart of a Parisian winter, that feeling (vibe) is there. It's easy to walk through a park on your way to and from work (can you imagine walking through the Tuileries everyday to get to the bus stop?!); flower shops have plastic & cloth awnings/enclosures erected in front of their shops (with heaters!) so they can display their flowers outside year 'round... 

Of course, I've brought this Old World Parisian floral aesthetic back home with me (into my everyday life). I found and made friends with a floral wholesaler from a farmer's market - I buy from her in bulk, straight from the source (pretty affordable). And when I visit someone's home, I always bring a bouquet of flowers for the hostess, I also give flowers as gifts. Admitedly, I've fallen off (motherhood and all). But this last trip to Paris' Urban Garden has re-inspired me, I hope that it inspires you.

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!



  1. Temple, thank you for your nice comment today. I did n't know that "our" Au Nom du Rose only carried roses!! Merci. Mine was in the Marais. I so enjoy your blog and will be back believe me! Now for your jewelry!

  2. Virginia,

    Thank you for your comment. I must say that I am a huge fan of your work and your blog - and I look forward to your posts. I devoted a post to your gorgeous blog. Type: Paris Through My Lens in the search column of my blog.

    Your photography class(es) tempt me almost beyond what I can bear. Alas, I live on the outskirts of Chicago - too far to commute, though I am sorely tempted ;-)

    I can closely relate with your love affair with Paris. Mon tete-a-tete with the city of love is nearing it's 30 year anniversary. It's a wonderful thing, oui?




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