Friday, November 30, 2012

Hidden Gardens of Paris

One of the most amazing secrets about Paris was imparted to me in the first week after I moved there.  At a dinner party, a well-known French author/photographer of luscious French coffee-table books told me, "All courtyards in Paris are legal to enter if the courtyard door opens. It's the law."  I was still bashful about the notion, but somewhat emboldened to give it a try.

Because, of course, some of the most fabulous intimate outdoor sights in Paris are hidden from view from the casual passerby, and require some knowledge and audacity in order to see them.

Mostly we spend our days in Paris walking down the cold stone sidewalks and simply wondering about the greenery on the other side of the wall.

I spent three happy years in Paris on my daily walks trying my best to discover all those hidden spots that serendipity tossed in my path.

But who needs serendipity when you have a copy of Hidden Gardens of Paris?  The hidden gardens included in this great guide range from not-so-hidden (Luxembourg Gardens) to tucked-away treasures, and I can only say that I am never going to meander around Paris again, EVER, without this gem of a book in my arsenal.

Author Susan Cahill artfully organizes the gardens geographically around Paris, and includes places and restaurants to visit nearby.  "Aha!"  you might say, "She didn't include one of my favorites!"  And, yes, it's true, because Paris has so many wonderful hidden green spaces, how could any 220-page tome include them all?  (Picpus Cemetery is one of my favorites, for example.)  But you will not be disappointed - there are ample new places to discover.  This book will simply give you more reasons to keep discovering Paris.

Hidden Gardens of Paris includes so many cultural and local references, it really is a must-have for any trip to Paris if, like me, your vision of Paris includes exploring on foot, outdoors.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Oh, dear, another book about Paris I MUST get. It seems we discover a new secret place with each trip, no matter how short. Some of the lesser known Paris gardens are the most charming.

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