The Delhi Walla in the French capital.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Trees, fountains, flowers, cafes, sculptures, graveled paths, busts of important artists, a pond, and, of course, a palace, which serves as the seat of the French Senate. There is also a puppet theatre and the original model of the Statue of Liberty.
To Parisians, Luxembourg Garden, opened to the public since 17th century, is linked to memories of childhood and youth. Located between the high schools and universities of the Latin Quarter and the apartment buildings of the 6th District’s Old Money families, the garden was built by Marie de Medicis, Queen of France and a native of Florence, who wanted to recreate her Italy in the French capital.
The garden pulsates with life.
Middle-aged men perform tai chi in slow motion. Old men busy themselves with chess. Lovers of all ages kiss on the benches. Children play with wooden boats. Others read.
In the early hours of the day, the athletes from the neighbouring fire station humiliate other joggers with their fast pace. In the late morning, bon chic bon genre girls from good catholic households walk in pairs, each carrying a Vanessa Bruno bag.
At noon, students from high schools and universities, along with office workers, sit on the garden’s green movable chairs and eat their sandwiches –in France, the daily lunch break lasts from one to two hours.
The rivalries between schools are discernible in Luxembourg only to the informed. Students from the Lycee Montaigne will not sit with those from Stanislas, although they equally hate the snobs of the Ecole Alsacienne.
After 4 pm, it is the turn of the school children, accompanied by their nannies. Many run towards the playground or the merry-go-round, which dates from 1879 and was designed by Charles Garnier, the architect of the famous Opera de Paris. This merry-go-round inspired the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke to write Das Karussell, one of his most beautiful poems.
As the sun sets, the Luxembourg’s guards, dressed in blue, start to blow their whistles, ordering the visitors to leave.
The Lodhi Garden of Paris
17. (Photo by Unknown)