Category Archives: French gardens

Home sweet France

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Of course France isn’t our home, but after years of passing through — on our way to and from Francophone African countries — visiting beautiful Strasbourg this weekend felt like a petit homecoming in general awareness.

Suddenly, I could speak to people in their own language* (albeit, simply and ungrammatically), understand signs, and go to Monoprix and read all the product labels. The skies opened. . . .

I love living in Germany, but, thus far, the German language is a stone wall to me. Thankfully, the school system here is so good that you can always find someone who speaks at least fair English. I do try to maintain an appropriately ashamed look every time I say, “I sorry, I don’t speak German.”

Anyway, Strasbourg was great, and I saw my first blooming wisteria this year there.

I can recommend Hôtel Gutenberg,  flammkuchen (aka tarte flambée) with a glass of pinot gris for lunch, and the boat tour of the River Ill, which circles the city center. And the spectacular cathedral is celebrating its 1,000th birthday this year.

What’s the French for “fiddle-de-dee”? . . .
The “Fiddle” we know, but what’s from “Dee”?
Le chat assis in an English tree?

John Hollander, from “For ‘Fiddle-de-de’

*in French, of course, but the native language of  Strasbourg is actually Alsatian, a dialect of German that is spoken by 43% of the region’s population, according to Wikipedia.

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Vintage landscape: Petit Trianon

Petit Trianon, Versailles, FrancePetit Trianon, Versailles, France, between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900, a photochrom by Detroit Publishing Co., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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Vintage landscape: promenade

More beautiful photochroms of France from the Library of Congress. . . . Enjoy.

[The Promenade, Montpelier, France“The Promenade, Montpelier, France,” between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900, a photochrom by Detroit Publishing Co., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (and all photos below).

The Tuileries garden, Paris, France“The Tuileries garden, Paris, France.”

Brest France photochrom, ca. 1900, Library of CongressThe Cours Dajot, Brest, Brittany, France.

[The Square and the Place D'Arcy, Dijon, France“The Square and the Place D’Arcy, Dijon, France.”

Caen, France, c. 1895, Library of Congress“Royal Palace and hotel de ville, Caen, France.”

Hotel de ville, posts and telegraphs, Vichy, France“Hotel de ville, posts and telegraphs, Vichy, France.”

Monks' promenade, Mont St. Michel, France“Monks’ promenade, [Abbey of] Mont St. Michel, France.”

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Vintage landscape: Nîmes, France

Garden of the Fountains, Nîmes, France]Garden[s] of the Fountains, Nîmes, France,” between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900, by Detroit Publishing Co., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs.

This is another image from the Library’s photochrom collection, which includes many views of the architecture, monuments, and landscapes of France.

Les Jardins de la Fontaine were built in the mid 1700s.  They were the first public gardens in France.

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Vintage landscape: the lake

Bois du Boulogne, ca. 1890, Library of CongressBois du Boulogne, Paris, France, between ca. 1890 and ca. 1900, a photochrom by Detroit Publishing Co., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The park is the second largest in Paris.  It opened in the 1850s — the first park in the western part of the city and an important part of Baron Haussmann’s vision for a greener, healthier Paris.

The plan of the Bois, developed by Jean-Charles Alphand, featured meandering paths and naturalistic hills, lawns, and lakes.  It was the model for all the 19th century Paris parks to follow.

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