January Dreaming: April in Paris in the Gardens

The seventh post in a series, January Dreaming. Click for the series, and see the end of the post for the backstory.

It’s January. It’s cold, dreary and wet. So I’m dreaming. Of Paris in April.

When I’m in Paris, I do my best to visit as many gardens as possible.  My oh my, do I love Paris! Especially in the spring.  It’s no wonder that the City of Lights has inspired so many songs, including the classic April in Paris.

There’s a link to one of my favorite recordings of that jazz classic at the end of the post, along with the lyrics.  But this post isn’t about jazz, it’s about the dazzling colors and green spaces you find all over Paris.  There just isn’t enough time, however long the trip, to enjoy them all. Ever. So … you just have to go back, again and again. Here are a few gardens pics, from just one trip in April of 2017, taken over just one weekend between two very busy work weeks. I’m not giving details about the locations in this post, because it’s really about the big picture: just GO. Paris will not disappoint you in April. And dreaming about it in January is… Just. So. Right.

April in Paris

https://youtu.be/XeKC0vxCc_w

Lyrics

Composer:  Vernon Duke
Lyrics: Yip Harburg*

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never new my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

‘Til April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
That no one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never new my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

‘Til April in Paris
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart

*Did you know? Yip Harburg wrote the lyrics to all the songs in The Wizard of Oz.

The Backstory of the January Dreaming Series

If you read this post, January Dreaming, you know that the inspiration for this series is my Mom’s longstanding loathing of the pitiful month of January. Like her, we’re dreaming of good times in warmer months, and celebrating those good times in this series.

© 2019 Glover Gardens

April in Paris: Museum of Montmartre and Renoir’s Gardens

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAApril in Paris is glorious, and that’s why there are songs about it.

And poetry, books, movies, operas, plays, drawings, photography, sculpture, tapestries and just about any other art form you can think of.

And blog posts, like this one.

IMG_2858I found the Musée de Montmartre & Jardins Renoir (Museum of Montmartre and Renoir’s Gardens) last April. I loved it so much that I went back in October and took a friend.

Located just down the street from the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, it puts you square into the history of Montmartre in the “Belle Epoque” period (1870-1914) or Golden Age. The museum and gardens throb with a creative, imaginative and harmonious aesthetic that must be been the inspiration for the numerous artists and writers who lived and worked there in the era of impressionism.

From the web site:

These residences, surrounded by gardens, housed the workshops and ateliers of numerous artists such as Auguste Renoir, Émile Bernard, Raoul Dufy, Charles Camoin, Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo. The writers Pierre Reverdy and Léon Bloy also resided here, as well as the sculptor Demetrius Galanis. It is here that Julien François Tanguy, otherwise known as Père Tanguy, one of the first collectors of impressionist paintings practiced his trade as an art supplies dealer.

The museum is excellent, with really interesting exhibits throughout the charming and small rooms of the buildings. In addition to the artwork in the permanent collection, homage is paid to the cabaret, Le Chat Noir and the Moulin Rouge with artifacts and multimedia, including the history of the can-can in films. The bar below is a typical “zinc bar,” so-called because the tops of the bars were made from zinc.

The grounds are full of old stone walls and steps, inviting arches and passages that lead you from verdant terraced courtyards to flower gardens. I spent almost two hours just wandering around outside. It is an incredibly peaceful and yet stimulating setting.

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Montmartre is situated at the highest point in Paris, and there are wonderful views of the city from the windows of the museum buildings and the back gardens.

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But wait, there’s more! During the time Renoir’s studio was here, he painted The Swing.

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The swing is still there. I found that really cool.

Renoir's Swing

There is so much more to this museum than I’ve shared with you today. Hundreds of paintings are in the permanent collection and special exhibits bring Montmartre alive. You walk in thinking of it as the Montmartre of today, with the funicular and famous steps that take you up the hill, the unmistakable hulking white buildings of Sacré-Cœur, and the artists and shops in the square. You leave understanding the soul of the place.

I fell in love with the Musée de Montmartre in the springtime, came back in the fall, and hope to go back and see it in the summer. It is a glorious way to spend an afternoon in Paris.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

April in Paris: Happy Wednesday Photo

I had some spare time over an April weekend in Paris and visited the Jacquemart-Andre Museum.

Sheer loveliness.

I haven’t had time to collect my thoughts and photos yet, but here’s a look at the floral arrangement in the drawing room.  Happy Wednesday!
Jacquemart-Andre Flowers.jpg

Stay tuned – more to come!

April in Paris: Rue des Martyrs

fullsizeoutput_535I have the good fortune to be in Paris over the weekend, and stumbled upon the Rue des Martyrs (Street of Martyrs for those of us who don’t “parlez vous francais”).  What a wonderful street!  Vibrant colors, great smells from a variety of cafés, fantastic people-watching, actually, make that people-and-dog-watching, a myriad of store and tiny boutiques and, the most tempting to me, a marvelous array of food and flower shops.  It was like an extended farmers’ market.  What a great street for an afternoon walk on a beautiful April day in Paris.

Foodie heaven!

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Back at the hotel, I did some quick internet research on the Rue des Martyrs and found a review of a book that raves about this magic street even more than I did just now.  Published in November of 2016, The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs, was written by Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times.  Reviewer Sinclair McKay from the Telegraph (London) said in January of this year: “She argues with seductive force that here is where you will find the undying soul of the city; real Parisians from all walks of life – the “intimate, human side of Paris”, somewhere with ‘the feel of a small village’.

Yes! That’s exactly how it felt just now when I was traversing down this authentic, neighborhood-feeling street.  I learned from the article that, along with 60 other streets / neighborhoods in Paris, the Rue des Martyrs is protected from ever having chain businesses move in.

If one artisan business moves out, it can only be replaced with another. Only the French would dare to try and hold back the ineluctable corporatist forces that have conquered the rest of us.

So of course I ordered the book from Amazon, of course I will go back to the Rue des Martyrs the next time in Paris armed with all of my new knowledge, and of course I took lots of photos to share with you.  But just the food and flower shops – I have my priorities.

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Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook