Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The French Open vs. les Serres d'Auteuil

If you've never visited le Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil, you are missing out on a sublime, tranquil bit of Paris. It is the Botanical Garden of Paris, with a magnificent 19th-century greenhouse and acres of lush greenery, statues and endless moments for quiet reflection, located in the 16e arrondissement.

How could I not fall in love with this place the first time I saw it?

I discovered the garden one day when scouting out its neighbor, the Roland Garros stadium, home of the French Open -- what we anglophones call the French Open, that is. In France, the annual June world tennis championship is simply called le Roland Garros. I've been reading news bits here and there that the Federation of French Tennis has been complaining that the mega-event is outgrowing its current home, and has been contemplating a move. Harrumph, I thought. How can you have the Roland Garros if it's not at le stade Roland Garros?

Ha. At least, that was my opinion until I learned of the New! Exciting! way to save the Roland Garros/French Open and keep it at its current location: expand it by taking over a section of the Jardin des serres d'Auteuil.


(I actually shouted this at my computer when I read the news.)

The Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil is a gem, every square centimeter of it. But the Mairie de Paris is apparently gung-ho on plans to let the Federation take over what it calls the "ugly part" of the Garden. The plans are to keep the antique greenhouse for show space but to remove the actual function of growing flowers.

Le projet d'extension de Roland Garros
Via the mairiedeparis. -

It's turning into a hot political issue. Tens of thousands of citizens have signed a petition protesting the loss of precious areas of the Jardin. Famed singer Françoise Hardy has taken on the protest as her cause célèbre.

The Federation of French Tennis will decide on February 13.


Polly-Vous Francais said...

Here is the petition in opposition of the expansion:

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Bah humbug. Read all about it.


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