We had intended to go to Giverny on Monday but stepped into another impressionist scene in Paris instead. The French celebrate every ecclesiastical feast day as a holiday and this means lots of closed shops and a holiday train schedule. Monday France celebrated Pentecost and our planned train wasn’t running and so we headed for the woods of Paris instead.
The Bois Vincennes is on the east edge of Paris and the Bois de Bologne on the west. We decided to spend our Monday afternoon in the Bois de Bologne. Although an enormous, sometimes untamed, wood — it is more than twice the size of Central Park — it is easy to reach by metro, tram or bus.
The Bois de Bologne is a popular park which contains both an elaborate amusement park and zoo for children the Jardin d’Acclimatation and a chateau with rose garden and art exhibits. We chose to spend our day around one of the lakes. While the wood is large and seems far from the city, this glimpse as we passed a clearing on our walk around one of the lakes makes clear that it is not all that isolated from the rest of Paris.
The Bois de Bologne has quite a reputation as a red light district at night and there are rumored to be camps of thieves living in distant parts of the wood. But during the day it is filled with Parisians enjoying their families.
We spent our time just strolling and loving the beauty of the day; it felt like we had stepped into an impressionist painting.
The boathouse was doing booming business on this gorgeous day but we were too lazy to row, preferring to stroll and sit and picnic and read and enjoy the views.
The upper lake is long with two islands and lots of room to row
stop to eat at a restaurant on the island or to picnic
and laze in the sun.
And not only human Parisians were enjoying the day; this dog spent an hour retrieving sticks and we watched another simply run up and down the shore sniffing and obviously doing something important that we couldn’t detect.Parisians really know how to create beautiful spaces for the pleasure of Parisians and we are loving sharing in that.