Parc Montsouris

Parc Montsouris

Located to the south of the city, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, is a spectacular park which seems to be under the radar for tourists and many Parisians alike. Overall, the Parc Montsouris encompasses 15 hectares in space (37 acres), and the design of the park was modeled as a traditional English Landscape garden.

Originally the site of a former granite quarry, Parc Montsouris was then redeveloped and opened in 1869 under Emperor Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann. However, whilst creating the park, there came some slightly morbid issues. Underneath where the park is today was a network of tunnels and abandoned mines, which had been filled with human skeletons. Therefore, before the work could continue, the human remains had to be removed and placed elsewhere – nice! In conjunction with the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne, the Parc Montsouris is one of the four large parks that surround the city.

 The Parc Montsouris is a wonderful place to come for a promenade, picnic and relaxation. At the centre of the park is a charming lake which is home to a wide variety of bird-species, including swans and wildfowl. The park also contains an abundance of wide lawns, a cascade and large variety of plants, including around 150 different species of trees.

 A notable feature of the park is the vast selection of sculptures placed Strategically throughout the landscape. As you walk around the different parts of the park, every now and then a piece of sculpture will emerge from behind a tree or vista. Many of these public sculptures date to as far back as the mid-19th century, with many created during the 1960s.

A visit to Parc Montsouris is a definite must – being the perfect place to relax and walk around the landscape. It is such a hidden gem within the southern part of the city, and one could easily spend a whole day there enjoying the environment (and weather hopefully, depending on when you go!)

 

 

 

A return to Rainy Paris

A return to Rainy Paris

After being back in England for a month, last weekend I was headed back to Paris.Sadly it was only for a weekend, but any amount of time spent in Paris is sure to be appreciated. Despite having lived there for the past year and calling it my home, as I boarded the plane I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. This time I was somewhat of an outsider – I was no longer the current au pair, and so it felt a little different visiting the city that had stolen my heart.

Despite these minor worries, I was super excited to get back to the city of Lights and couldn’t wait! Although the weather throughout the entire weekend was pretty awful – rain everyday – I still had a wonderful time meeting with some of my closest and dearest friends who still live in Paris, as well as spending time with my au pair family. As soon as I stepped off the metro to meet one of my French friends, I knew that I was home. There’s something about Paris that has me longing to go back. I had also missed speaking and hearing French a lot, and it was only after spending a month away was I able to appreciate how much I had learnt and could understand. Much more than I had previously thought!

Due to the dismal weather, I wasn’t able to visit most of the places I had hoped to see. So, I’m definitely going to have to go back soon to do some more exploring! But hey, who can complain – most of my weekend was spent Cafe hopping and eating some delicious food!

Paris Notre-Dame Cathedral

Paris bridge/pont

Palais Garnier, Opéra national de Paris, Paris

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris

The Bois de Boulogne has a little secret, one that many people do not know about. It’s the Parc de Bagatelle, located to the left of the park near the River Seine. This fantastic park is one of the city’s four botanical gardens, and should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Paris.

Within the park, there are numerous things to see and you could easily pass a few hours exploring all the different parts of the park. The expansive landscape of the Parc de Bagatelle is predominately designed in a mix of Anglo-Chinese style. As you wander around the park, you will also stumble upon some hidden gems; including several artificial caves and cascades to look from, grottoes to explore and ponds with water lilies. Oh, and you’ll also notice the beautiful Peacocks who roam freely around the park. If you don’t see them in person, I’m sure you’ll come across one or two of their feathers lying around!

The Parc de Bagatelle is also home to a small neoclassical Château – the Château de Bagatelle. Constructed originally as a place to stay whilst hunting within the Bois de Boulogne, the Château has an interesting history.

In 1777 Marie-Antoinette wagered against the Count of Artois that it was impossible to build a palace with a park in less than three months. In attempt to win the bet, the Count of Artois appointed architect François-Joseph Bélanger and Scottish landscape designer Thomas Blaikie to create the Château. And by Jove – they won! The Château and the surrounding park was built in just 64 days, making Marie-Antoinette loser of the bet. I have no idea what it meant to lose, so it would be interesting to see what the outcome was for Marie-Antoinette in this wager!

Despite being relatively unknown to tourists, and perhaps even Parisians alike, the park’s Rose Garden is one of its best-known features. Here one can admire the amazing array of roses within the garden. As you walk around, you cannot but be overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of all the flowers – and the smell! If you come at the right time during the summer when the roses are in full bloom, the smell of the different species is captivating. In fact, in the Rose Garden there is an estimated 10,000 rose bushes of 1,200 different varieties – that’s a whole lot of rose! Every June there is an international competition for new roses, Concours international de roses nouvelles de Bagatelle.

Also located in the Rose Garden is the Orangerie. Built in 1865, the Orangerie is a classical-style building where concerts are held throughout the year.

Overlooking the Rose Garden is a sweet Victorian style Pavilion, the Kiosque de l’Impératrice. Located at the top of a small mound, the Kiosque is a great place to sit, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.

The English connections don’t stop at the style of the park however. In 1853 the park was sold to an English man, Francis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford and was eventually left to Sir Richard Wallace upon Lord Hertford’s death in 1870. During this period, the Château contained a large collection of French artwork, much of which came from the Wallace Collection in London.

The Parc de Bagatelle is definitely one of the best-kept secrets of Paris. When my Mum and I visited, we had a wonderful day walking around the different areas of the park and smelling all the beautiful roses. The park was completely quiet; in fact, at some moments it was just the peacocks and us! It was as if we had gone back in time when it was a private park, and we were just going for a leisurely afternoon stroll.

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Gate

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris, Rose Garden, Flowers

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris, Rose Garden, Flowers

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris, Rose Garden, Flowers

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris, Rose Garden, Flowers

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris, Rose Garden, Flowers

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris, Rose Garden, Flowers, Peacocks

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris, Rose Garden, Flowers

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris, Rose Garden, Flowers

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris,Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris,

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do ParisParc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris

Parc de Bagatelle, Paris, Paris Park, Things to do Paris

The magnificent Deer of Richmond Park, London

The magnificent Deer of Richmond Park, London

If you ever want to break free the hustle and bustle of the big city, then head down to the southwest suburb of Richmond. Here you’ll be able to escape and enter the wonderfully serene Richmond Park. Covering around 2,500 acres (making it the largest of the Royal Parks), Richmond Park has some incredible residents – hundreds of deer. As a national nature reserve and deer park, these deer have had a key part throughout the park’s history and have been roaming throughout the landscape since 1529.

As you walk around the different paths of the park, every-now and then you’ll come across these splendid animals. Whilst down in London, a visit to Richmond Park was a high priority on my list! Armed with my camera and zoom lens, I was ready and prepared for an encounter with the deer! After some walking, they were spotted, and off I went! It was like being on safari! (not quite the same obviously, but as I’ve never experienced it, this was a close as I am currently going to get!) There really is something very magical and tranquil about these deer, and although I approached them with caution, they didn’t seem too bothered by my close presence. Here are just a few of the photos I took whilst in the park – there were so many, that I feel like these are probably some of the best.

If you would like to check out more photos, head over to my Flickr here.

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Deer of Richmond Park, London

Summer promenade along La Seine, Paris

Summer promenade along La Seine, Paris

Summers in Paris are made for wandering along the Seine, and enjoying the beautiful sights of the city. There’s honestly nothing better than an aimless promenade, capturing the different views of the city. And what better way to enjoy being a flâneur, than treating yourself to the odd macaron as well! A promenade along la Seine, no matter what the season, is one of my favourite things to do in Paris.

 Promenade along La Seine, Paris

Hôtel de Ville, Promenade along La Seine, Paris

 Promenade along La Seine, Paris

 Promenade along La Seine, Paris

Promenade along La Seine, Paris

Promenade along La Seine, Paris

Promenade along La Seine, Paris

Macarons in Paris!

Sunset of Cassis

Sunset of Cassis

I have just returned from a wonderful week down in the South of France in Cassis with my fantastic host-family. Many of you may already know that I spent a week there back in April. Having had an unforgettable time back in spring, I was looking forward to heading back down to enjoy the summer. Summer it definitely is, with the temperatures ranging between 30 degrees and higher, many a time I thought I would melt into the ground.

With the nights being long and the weather so perfect, I was able to watch many of the sunsets here in the South. Below are just a few photos of the sun setting here in Cassis. There’s something truly magical watching the sky change colours as the sun descends for another day.

Sunset Cassis, France

Sunset Cassis, France

Sunset Cassis, France

Sunset Cassis, France

Sunset Cassis, France

Sunset Cassis, France

Sunset Cassis, France