a landscape lover's blog

garden tales from a Brit abroad

Paris post-script

My visit to Paris this summer revealed some odd goings-on at the venerable parc Monceau, in the heart of the city. Originally created in the 18th century as a flamboyant private garden, Monceau is now a majestic swathe of ancient trees, lush grass and stone follies.

The city of Paris (or at least one of its gardeners) has been introducing some rather novel elements among the traditional shrub borders and flower beds.

First, an earthern volcano complete with red and yellow annual flowers representing lava, and a water jet or two occasionally bursting out of the nearby perennial plantings.

Monceau 7 Monceau 1Then, alongside the main path, the earth opening up as if in some Halloween horror film, with elaborate catilevered sections of turf and more lava effect.

Monceau 5 Monceau 6And by the rotunda at the main entrance, another installation, with square tunnels carefully chiselled out of a large log. I am afraid the symbolism of this one escaped me.

Monceau 3 Monceau 4I just didn’t know what to make of these new features. A friend thought them interesting and different, and was puzzled by my disapproval. Maybe she was right. Perhaps they were contemporary artworks designed to challenge the rather staid representations of nature all around them, or deliberate modern references to Monceau’s creation in the 1770s as a “land of illusions“?

At least they were more thought-provoking than the terrible, scrappy planting in place in the Tuileries, Le Nôtre’s great processional gardens along the Seine. Here’s an example, with the Louvre in the background, the whole sorry mess set off perfectly by that officious little sign telling people they are not welcome.

Tuileries 1

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3 comments on “Paris post-script

  1. Of Gardens
    November 21, 2013

    Ummm…I missed this last time I was in Parc Monceau (18 months ago)….can’t say I am sorry. I will have to get on a plane and go see for myself before I make up my mind. The Tuileries I have come to accept as they are, and take pleasure in the beauty that is there, and ignore what could be there.

  2. Donna@Gardens Eye View
    November 30, 2013

    How interesting and sad about the Tuileries,

  3. loganmartindotcom
    May 20, 2014

    Wow interesting blog an wonderful images

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This entry was posted on November 19, 2013 by in Paris, Parks and tagged , .

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