30 May 2011

Paradise in Paris !

Sunday was Fetes des Meres  (or Mother's Day ) in France, and as we woke to a beautiful sunny day, we decided to pack a picnic and head for the woods in the 16th arrondissement.

The Bois de Boulogne was once an ancient oak forest and is first mentioned
in the Charter of Compiegne in the year 717.
Later in its colourful history, Henry IV planted 15,000 mulberry trees hoping to instigate a local silk industry.
In 1772 the Comte de Artois who was the brother of the King of France,
( Louis the XVI ), wagered a 100,000 livre bet  ( a lot of money! ) with the Queen, Marie Antoinette, that he could restore the delapidated buildings and build a garden in time for a fete in 64 days.
 He put 900 men to work around the clock with music in the day and burning torchlight at night.
He managed to win the bet.
No wonder they lost their heads later !!

The Comte d'Artois then assigned a Scottish landscaper, Thomas Blaikie, to work on the gardens for the next two years and the Bagatelle remained in the Comte's possession until the French Revolution.

Situated in this 2,000 acres of parkland in the 16th arrondissement, is the Longchamps race track, the Roland Garros tennis stadium, a camping area
( where in 1975 we spent some time in our VW combi van with Sarah as a cute 3 year old ) and many other recreational areas.

But for my vote, the best feature of this woodland expanse is the stunning Jardins de Bagatelle ...

Peonies, pink champagne, cherries - not your average pique - nique !!

The roseraie was added in 1904 with 1,500 different rose bushes.
An annual rose competition is held each June.

No photo seems to do justice to this little piece of heaven.

                                          Isn't this a great shot of Wend ?

                                          The bees were busy ...

                            ... and the ladybirds were loving it ...

Notice the size of the bumble bees !

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