Saturday, July 30, 2011

French Kings wore crowns and not berets

Contrary to popular belief, very few people wear berets in Paris these days.  It's just too much like World War II  headgear.

It was a nice morning, sunny and warm, and I walked over to the Notre Dame Cathedral, just a block away to look at the garden behind the old church.  There are blooming roses and many other varieties of flowers growing there.  It's also an opportunity to photograph the famous flying buttresses that support the walls and make it possible to have large stained glass windows in the church.

The Jardins des Plantes was my destination again. It is a large and well used Paris park and botanical garden featuring plants from all over the world as well as some old and large French trees. I think I recognized this plant as a Minnesota plant - I think horse tails - but the name on the tag was in either French or Latin and I can't confirm that it is the same.

This is the large field of plants, at least a couple of city blocks in length containing mostly colorful flowers, but also edible vegetables.  There were lots of French families visiting the gardens - including small children.  There were also runners, some of whom used the paths through the flowers as they pursued their exercise strategies.

This is one of the areas that is structured like classical French garden and includes some old and quite striking sculpture among the plants.  There was also a carousel in this area that was not in use but had seen much wear over the years.

I also visited the Pantheon and a pair of old churches on my way back home for lunch. After lunch it was time to visit the ancient castle of French kings from the time when it was built in about 1150 until Versailles was built about 1682 for Louis XIV. For 500 years the king used this castle for a hunting lodge and as his favorite place to hang out outside the bustle of Paris.    It features a lot of security features including a deep and wide moat.  It looks to my eye what a castle should look like, one where Cinderella might dwell.

This is a good depiction of the entrance and shows the moat pretty well.  The moat is now dry and a good crop of grass is growing at the bottom.

It was a good and also active day and I'm worn out from the all day walking, but I saw some new and beautiful sites and think I have a better understanding of how medieval castles were built and protected.

1 comment:

Retired Professor said...

No berets? That seems wrong.

I love the photo with the flying buttresses. It never crossed my mind that they existed to prop up the walls to support the windows. I thought it was all for architectural effect. It's an amazing place.