Monday, June 3, 2019

A Secret Garden

Who wouldn't love spending a little time in a secret garden?

While this one isn't exactly a secret, it's well hidden and relatively unknown.

Amazing considering it's so close to the Champs-Élysées behind the Grand Palais.

We even asked two of the Grand Palais security people if they knew where it was and they weren't able to help.

The Jardin de la Nouvelle France (formerly Jardin de la Vallée Suisse, a souvenir of the Swiss pavilion of the 1900 World Exhibition) is a treasure. 

1.7 acres of peace and quiet in a busy city, steps away from some of the spots tourists are gathered.

One of Paris' hidden gardens that they're so very proud of, with every right.  Parisians care deeply about their green spaces, preserving those they have and currently working to add more.  The Eiffel Tower/Trocadero corridor will be turned green in time for the 2024 Olympics.  Tour Montparnasse will be undergoing a "green" redesign.

Laid out in preparation for the 1900 World Fair, Jardin de la Nouvelle has a bit of an Asian feel much different from the more geometrical designs of many of the French gardens.

Over the years it has gone by several names, the Garden of the Swiss Valley, the Garden of Anne Savage (1896-1971) and finally the Jardin de la Nouvelle France. Part of the Champs-Élysées’ gardens, this “Swiss Valley” was built by the park designer Jean-Charles Adolphe Alphand. 

There's a 100-year-old weeping beech shading a pond.  The small waterfall helps eliminate the noise from the nearby streets above. 

The pond is fed by the Seine, so not crystal clear by any means, but you can spot some fish swimming by  if you watch closely. 

NYTimes travel writer, Elaine Sciolino, wrote “On a park bench there, I am enveloped by evergreens, maples, bamboo, lilacs and ivy. There are lemon trees; a Mexican orange; a bush called a wavyleaf silktassel, with drooping flowers, that belongs in an Art Nouveau painting; and another whose leaves smell of caramel in the fall.”

Even though we knew where it was, it was still hard to find. 

There are two entrances, and we just finally happened across the rear entrance.

We didn't see the sculpture we were looking for that marks the main entrance until we made our exit there.  It's facing the street near the intersection between Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt and Cours la Reine.  A carved block of white marble done by Alphonse de Moncel in memory of Alfred de Musset, named The Dream of the Poet.  If you find this, you'll see a set of broken steps that will lead you down to the garden.

Want to find our more about Jardin de la Nouvelle and other hidden gardens?  I recommend  "Hidden Gardens of Paris: A Guide to the Parks, Squares, and Woodlands of the City of Light" by Susan Cahill and photographed by Marion Ranoux


Gram said...

Gorgeous. I love seeing these gardens through your lens. Thank you.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Thank YOU, Gram!