Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog www.eyepreferparis.com.
Spring is in the air in Paris, and nothing says spring more than the flowers blooming in the beautiful gardens of the city. Here are some of our favorite gardens boasting their buds this month.
|The Bagatelle Gardens|
The glorious Bagatelle Gardens, located inside the Bois de Boulogne Park on the border of Paris, has a most interesting history. It started as a hunting lodge built in 1720 for Maréchal d’Estrées, a marquise. Purchased in 1775 by Comet d’ Artois, Louis XVI’s brother, d’Artois tore it down and his sister-in-law Marie Antoinette wagered that he would not have the new chateau built in less than three months. She lost the bet, and d’Artois completed the stunning chateau and grounds in 63 days. The chateau and gardens were purchased by the city in 1905 and Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier created the new gardens.
The 59-acre park is most famous for its variety of more than 1,100 rosebushes with a special award given every year for the most outstanding rose. The park also features an iris garden and a pond that inspired Monet’s Water Lillies series of paintings. A festival celebrating the music of Chopin is another much-loved annual event that takes place in June.
42 Route de Sevres, 16th Arrondissement
Bois de Boulogne
Open from 10a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
|Albert Kahn Museum & Gardens|
Albert Kahn Museum & Gardens
Albert Kahn was a wealthy French banker and philanthropist living in Paris the early 1900s. He was a passionate collector and acquired a sizeable plot of land in the Paris suburb of Boulougne-Billancourt. Here, he created a special Japanese garden, which includes an authentic Japanese house and tearoom and also a traditional English garden along with a rose garden. Kahn was also an avid photography collector and sent photographers to more than 50 countries to enhance his collection to amass more than 72,000 photographs. Unfortunately, Kahn’s fortune was wiped out during the Great Depression in 1929, but the city turned his plot of land into a museum with his photos and the gardens.
10-14 Rue du Port
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
|The Luxembourg Gardens|
The most beloved park in Paris, the Luxembourg Gardens has some of the most beautiful flowerbeds in the city. Located on the Left Bank, it’s the second largest park in Paris, sitting on 55 acres. It was once the private garden of Maria de Medici and the magnificent Florentine palace that was built for her in 1615 at the foot of the park now houses the Senat, a branch of the French government. The park has many activities for adults and children including tennis courts, playground, donkey rides, puppet shows, and pond on which to sail toy boats. The secluded Medici Fountain, flanked by plane trees, resembles an Italian grotto and is a delightful spot to bask in.
Rue Vaugirard, 6th Arrondissement
Open daily from sunrise to sunset