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A Regal Run: Loping Through The Luxembourg

Let's re-charge the soul and soles with writer George Sand at the Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Let’s re-charge the soul and soles with writer George Sand at the Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Fall Inspo: Why not rock the vote and head-to-toe grey with a splash of mustard? (Elle, 1951, T. Brack's collection)

Fall Inspo: Why not rock the vote and head-to-toe grey with a splash of mustard? (Elle, 1951, T. Brack’s collection)

By Theadora Brack

This week, for just one moment, let’s take a brief break from the news cycle and go for a jog in the park.

Personally, I can’t think of a finer way to re-charge and experience the City of Light’s past and present than kicking down the old cobblestone rues.

As writer George Sand once wrote, “Don’t jibe at the very wise advice that sentences you to one hour’s walk a day. You imagine the work of the mind takes place only in the brain; but you’re much mistaken. It takes place in the legs as well.”

I completely agree.

So grab the baton and get stepping in my favorite Paris park: le Jardin du Luxembourg. Created with a Florentine twist by Queen Marie de Médici and gardening theorist Jacques Boyceau during the 17th century, it opened to the public in 1778.

Here, I’m not only able to run, but also mingle with the statues of French queens, saints, big cats, and writers. I’m hardly a martyr, or a monarch or a literary giant (yet!), but up my black Lycra sleeve I do have a few tips for a picture-perfect storybook run.

Let’s go!

Let's grab the baton and get stepping in my favorite Paris park: le Jardin du Luxembourg

Let’s grab the baton and get stepping in my favorite Paris park: le Jardin du Luxembourg

Getting There

I recommend the Notre-Dames-des-Champs Métro stop. When you surface, take rue Notre-Dames-des-Champs a few blocks to rue Vavin. At the intersection, the park will be on your left, and on the right, you’ll spot one of the centuries-old Wallace water fountains. The water is free and tasty, so refill your bottle before and after your fast trot.

Venus Mobile by Lotta Hannerz, Médici Fountain, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Venus Mobile by Lotta Hannerz, Médici Fountain, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pharmacy

Next to the Wallace fountain is the Pharmacie Vavin (18 rue Vavin). Here you can buy contact solution, eye-drops, and contact lens cases, along with bandages, Ibuprofen, and the almighty important sunscreen.

Even if you’re in the pink of health, don’t leave Paris without stopping by a pharmacy. Their shelves are stocked with plant-based soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, crèmes, and cosmetics. Most pharmacists speak English. They’ll not only take the time to listen, but they can also recommend a product for almost any malady, whatever it may be.

Jean-Antoine Watteau’s Shrine by Henri Désiré Gauquié, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Jean-Antoine Watteau’s Shrine by Henri Désiré Gauquié, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Powder Rooms

There are several restrooms in Luxembourg. Find one of the many posted park maps, and then take flight to the nearest sanitaire. There is a 75-cent fee, so pack a few coins (fee subject to change. Sometimes life gets you coming and going. It’s true.) Also, you’ll find drinking water fountains throughout the park.

Smooth Sailing: Miniature Boats on the Grand Bassin, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Smooth Sailing: Miniature Boats on the Grand Bassin, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Terrain

Each loop around the perimeter of the park is about 2 kilometers. Forget your watch? There’s a clock on top of the Palaïs du Luxembourg. Arrive early in the morning, for this place is a stroller-magnet—in both senses of the word. On the flipside, it’s a prime people-watching spot.

Marguerite d'Angoulème by Joseph Stanislas Lescorne, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Marguerite d’Angoulème by Joseph Stanislas Lescorne, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Perks

Shade. With its hideaways and fountains, Luxembourg has always felt like an enchanted forest. Here there are more backdrops for photo-ops than you can shake a selfie stick at, so pack your camera. Keep your eyes peeled for Bartholdi’s original Statue of Liberty prototype, along with the Medici Fountain, the Grand Bassin pond, and a carousel designed by Opéra architect Charles Garnier.

Paradise Found: Médici Fountain, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Paradise Found: Médici Fountain, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Gossip

A story I often tell: Years before Hemingway could afford to shoot lions in Africa, he hunted urban birdlife here by the Médici Fountain. Back in his salad days, Luxembourg was known for its voluptuous pigeons.

Hemingway wrote, “We got a little tired of pigeon that winter but they filled many a void.”

But if you’re feeling hunger pangs after your run, don’t worry about having to take an urban safari. There are snack shacks throughout the park. How do I know? A well-fed, plump birdie told me so.

Be Kind: George Sand by François-Léon Sicard, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Be Kind: George Sand by François-Léon Sicard, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Feeling all preachy-preachy

I’ll close with a few more wise words by George Sand: “Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give it without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”

Carpe diem! Be strong. Be invincible. And don’t forget to vote.

Be Bold: Lion by Jean Baptiste Henraux, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Be Bold: Lion by Jean Baptiste Henraux, Jardin du Luxembourg (Photo by Theadora Brack)

 

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73 thoughts on “A Regal Run: Loping Through The Luxembourg

    • Hi Frank, Yes, Jardin du Luxembourg is one of my favorite havens in the world. So much to love and enjoy. Here there’s often an outdoor photograph exhibition. Installed on the park gates, it’s always worth a visit. Always inspiring.

      Take care,
      Theadora

      Like

      • Yes, Frank. I thoroughly enjoyed your Walktober post: Plitvice National Park in Croatia. I especially loved the photographs of falls. Fish shot, too. So pretty.

        I’m off now to find a link . . .
        T.

        Like

  1. Yes a refreshing change here in NYC where pipe bombs are being sent by domestic terrorists otherwise known as Trump Proud Boy Storm Troppers to very democrat who disagrees with our current Mafia Don better known here as Trumpfuhrer. 13 more days to see what this country is made of.

    Like

    • Thank you, Tish. I love spending afternoons with the queens and saints. Regal and photogenic. Only one hiccup: No walking on the grass. (Yes, I’ve been caught. The police whistles are quite loud. Oh, la la.)

      Enjoy the weekend,
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

    • Merci! So many rollers and strollers—even during the weekday mornings and afternoons. The Fountain of the Observatory is another favorite reading spot. Repeating words: Paradise found.

      Have a lovely weekend,
      Theadora

      Like

  2. What a treat it is to see one of my favorite places through your eyes (and pen), Theadora! And what perfect quotes you found with which to punctuate your stroll; George Sand was such a remarkable woman. I wonder what she would say about the current state of affairs? I suspect she would take a cue from YOU and encourage us to vote. And I shall not disappoint you! Thank you again for this beautiful virtual stroll.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I wonder what George Sand would say about the current state of affairs. Good. Golly.

      And speaking of “Aurore,” I also recommend the Musée de la Vie Romantique, located in the Nouvelle Athènes neighbourhood.

      Repeating words: Formerly the digs of painter Ary Scheffer, it now showcases works from the Romantic Movement in art and literature.

      Scheffer’s paintings are displayed on the second floor, while his plucky neighbor George Sand’s art, bling, and personal artifacts occupy the first floor. Electric candlelight and piped-in Chopin lend it a truly romantic ambiance. Another favorite nook in the world . . .

      Enjoy the weekend. And thanks for rocking the vote!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my yes … isn’t the Musée de la Vie Romantique an underappreciated gem? I haven’t been there in a few years but remember being struck by the plaster casts of George Sands’ and Fréderic Chopin’s hands (not literally, of course — ha ha). Plus, the building itself is beautiful and fascinating. It gave me the chills to think that these personages I so admire had been in those very rooms.

        Thank you, as always, for keeping these bits of history so vibrant and alive!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The envelope contained only a map. Jardin du Luxembourg The location of Jean Baptiste’s lion circled in red. I turned it over. In Theadora’s elegant writing – an invitation. Today. Three hours before dusk. The occasion. A special picnic. It would be a celebration of life. We would meet by the friendly lion. The Tin Man would arrive with sweet Jo Nell on his arm. Theadora’s hamper clinking with the last of the summers rose wine. Virginia with a wicker picnic basket filled with pate and crusty bread, handfuls of tiny green grapes, and decadent truffles. The late summer shade will give us sanctuary and privacy and we will talk quietly about times past and happy memories. For this is what good friends do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is exactly what good friends do. And after our picnic by the lion, we strolled on over to the apple and pear orchards. After the guards closed the gates, we then headed to the nearby Café de la Mairie at Place Saint-Sulpice for more chat and wine, too.

      Who else has found inspiration here? Besides Ernest Hemingway, Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin, scribes like Saul Bellow, Fitzgerald and Djuna Barnes were often afoot. And let’s not forget James Joyce, Samuel Becket and Edward Hopper—just to name a few more.

      Oh, what a night . . . Thanks for a beautiful passage, Virginia. Gorgeous.
      Theadora

      Like

  4. lovely post indeed a nice garden, even if the city is trying to get rid of some of its charms like the children playground association is trying to fight it as generations of French families went there with the kids including mines. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blah. And there are so many charms: tennis, running, chess, toy boat racing, boules, petanque, and donkey rides, along with the carrousel with its little lances and golden rings. I think they’ve moved the bees. Waiting for an update from the park.

      As always, thanks for the inspiration,
      Theadora

      Like

      • Garden is Nice but taken down is not at least there le an association discussing with thé senate who promise something better by march 2019.

        Like

    • I think the statue count now hovers around one hundred. Flaunting sixty-something acres, Luxembourg has played muse to photographers Atget, Brassaï, and Doisneau. Painter Watteau paid homage too. It also had a recurring role in Victor Hugo’s novel “Les Misérables” and Ernest Hemingway’s novels and short stories.

      So much to see and photograph . . .
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So lovely to hear from you, Theadora. I greatly enjoyed the walk and I can see why you like it so much. When I was in France recently, I was able to enjoy the variety available in the French pharmacy. I bought a wonderful tisane one place, some soap at another, and some stuff to temporarily fill a lost filling at another. And they can also tell you whether the mushrooms you collected are edible or poisonous or not. What’s not to like?!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear from you, Janet. I completely agree. French pharmacies are absolutely fabulous. What brand of soap did you buy? (I also spend hours in Monop’beauty shops.)

      And how’s the bakery?
      Theadora

      Like

      • I’ll have to check on the soaps. We discovered several wonderful bakeries and just had to keep trying to decide which was better. The little bakery in La Bruyere has amazing almost croissants, but the ones in Luxeuil had some amazing pastries and bread. I think we went to a Monop in Colmar, but on a hunt for other things. Got some great Cein face products at Lidl and evidently they’re made by Waleda! So inexpensive and wonerful.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I realized I spelled Cein incorrectly as Cien. It’s the brand carried by Lidl and I love it! I hope they still have it when I get back the next time.

        Like

  6. Oh, I love your regal run loop! How could one resist? It seems to have everything one could want – beauty, history, potties, art, water and pharmacies. You bring it all to life with your wonderful photos. I tried to jog along with you…in spirit anyway! Early voting has started here but Husband and will be voting on Nov.6 and hoping for some changes. Thanks for your recent visit to my blog. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve been in my thoughts. (It’s not easy.) Thanks for your wonderful words. So thoughtful. Yes, I think the world is ready for some changes. Changes possessing moral compasses, please.

      Big hugs,
      Theadora

      Like

  7. Hi Theadora! It’s been so long! What a refreshing article, except for the fact that it makes me feel guilty for sitting on my butt today and not getting some exercise. I hope you are well; I’m fairing well in India. Come see me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • How are tricks, Anita? Yes, it’s been too long. Are you still taking photographs? Any post updates? Are you enjoying the new year?

      Stay in touch,
      Theadora

      Like

    • Second time around? You made my day. As always, thanks for the encouragement and kind words. I really appreciate it.
      T.

      (I’m enjoying your Instagram posts, by the way. Your Rice Lake shot is beautiful. It was difficult to stop studying the photograph. An armchair retreat.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Theodora. I especially enjoy how you engage readers and create a space where art, history literature come together is a elegant flow. I have learned a great deal from following your posts. I have been involved in a work project but am coming back to blogging in a few weeks. I’m glad that we have connected and look forward our ongoing conversation. We may be on opposite sides of the world, but we are on the same pathway.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Unbelievable, less than a year I enjoyed walking around the same places. Theadora, thank you for the lovely walk through JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG. After reading your posts from Paris I am ready to go there again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I’m now ready to visit Florence. Thanks to your post. The photographs are lovely, Alexander. I was transported. You can’t go wrong with a blue sky. Gorgeous.

      So you strolled around The Luxembourg? Did you take pics?

      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

    • Your words always make me smile! Thanks for daily inspiration. I’m been enjoying your Henry John Heinz series. Very interesting.
      Is there a gift shop? Did they give out samples?

      Important questions!
      Theadora

      Like

      • They did have a nice gift shop with old style out of production candy bars. They had memorabilia but nothing for free sadly. LOL.

        Like

  9. A most welcome break from the news cycle. And your photos and post do the trick. Lovely!
    Did you ever see the yarn store La Bien Aimee? My knitting friends I met in Norway Knitting cruise long to visit Paris and load up on her handdyed yarn. I think she has a Cafe too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ruth!

      Yes, La Bien Aimee is a great place to score hand-dyed yarn. For years, I’ve been stopping by a tiny shop, located kitty corner to the Halle Saint Pierre museum in Montmartre. You’d love this place. Affordable yarn. Free knitting tips, too.

      I’m still trying to conquer the popcorn stitch. Sigh.

      Maybe it’s time to create a nod to yarn . . .

      La Bien Aimee
      89 Avenue d’Italie, 75013 Paris, France

      Maison Kermès Laines
      2 Rue Cazotte, 75018 Paris, France

      Like

    • Thanks, Resa! And speaking of gorgeous and stunning, how are the Chicklets doing? I bet they were exhausted after the big Paris fashion show. Amazing work. Book, please.

      Brava!
      Theadora

      Like

    • Thank you! Oh, I’d love to see your shots of the gang at Luxembourg. You are a sculpture whisperer, always managing to capture expressions and poses, too. It’s true.
      Theadora

      Like

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