Parisian park life

pelouse.jpgSpring has finally arrived in Paris! It is beautiful outside, the first flowers are blossoming and the sun is just warm enough that you can comfortably take the kids to the park, enjoy a ray of sunshine and feel semi-human again after months of hibernation.

Now here is a warning for anyone new to Paris or planning to visit Paris in the spring time: It is not necessarily allowed to sit on the grass in the parks! That’s right — there are very complex rules and regulations. First of all, during the winter (from the 14.10 to the 14.04) the grass in almost all parks has been given the time off. But, even come spring time it is not a given that you can plop yourself anywhere. You need to look out for tiny signs indicating if the grass is ‘resting’ or not.

In this city grass is apparently a completely decorative element in the park. It is normally closely guarded by a man in a uniform with a whistle, lest someone decides to break the law and step onto the sacred green ground.

After living here for almost 3  years I still cannot get my head around this. It just does not make sense. The whole point of a park is that the public can go sit on the grass. So I still plop my kids on any available stretch of grass and get surprised by the man with the whistle. I doubt that will ever change. It feels to me like, yet again, style has won over content in this beautiful but not always practical city.

– Emilie


Comments (5)

March 27, 2009

I have just starting following your blog, and am terribly nostalgic for Parisian times. I lived in the 9th, 10th & 18th over a period of two years (not posh, but definitely colourful) and miss it desperately. I used to sit in the Tuileries and eat my lunch, people-watching for a full hour, and often wondered what would happen if I ran amok on the grass…

March 27, 2009

Thanks for the “warning”. I would have no doubt been running on the grass, with children in tow on first available grass in Paris, had I not known. After all, like you say, thats what it is for…… really. How strict are they with dogs being on the grass ?A

erin becker
March 27, 2009

It is actually quite funny to watch the man in uniform with the whistle try to chase the sea of sunseekers off the grass on a sunny Sunday in Parc Monceau. And, by the way, the man in uniform with the whistle does intimidate my rule following children!EGB

March 27, 2009

The French are so… well, French! How funny that they don’t allow you to walk on the grass!

March 29, 2009

I’m counting down the days til the 15th April when we can go on the grass again. It’s SO weird to have to tell your kids that the grass is ‘closed for winter’. Certainly doesn’t happen in Sydney!

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