Category Archives: French gardens

Vintage landscape: the watchers

Clay figures, Bibliotheque ToulouseFigurines de pierre (stone) dans un potager,” between 1859 and 1910, by Eugène Trutatvia Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

You have to look closely, I’m afraid. . . click on the image for a little better view.

The location of the photo was not noted, but the Bibliothèque assigns it to the Germany album. Trutat took a large number of pictures while traveling in the Rhineland-Palatinate region in the early 1920s.

Leave a comment

Filed under architecture, art, culture and history, design, French gardens, garden design, landscape, vintage landscape

Life in gardens: Paul et Henri

A repeat from December 2012. . . . I love this bleary little photo.

Paul et Henri

Paul and Henri at Cornusson, Parisot Commune, in the Pyrenees, France, ca. 1870 — like yesterday’s post  by Eugène Trutat, via the Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.
Robert Louis Stevenson, “To Any Reader”

4 Comments

Filed under art, design, French gardens, garden design, life in gardens, nature, vintage landscape

Life in gardens: Ax-les-Thermes

1906 garden with steps in France, Bibliotheque ToulouseThe walled garden of Chalet Magazin, Ax-les-Thermes,  France,” July 1906, by Eugène Trutat, via Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

From over the wall I could hear the laughter of women
in a foreign tongue, in the sun-rinsed air of the city. . . .

. . .  the sound filled up the garden and lifted

like bubbles spilling over the bricks that enclosed them. . .

Mary-Sherman Willis, from “The Laughter of Women

1 Comment

Filed under architecture, design, French gardens, garden design, life in gardens, nature, vintage landscape

Life in gardens: flower fair

Grand Kermesse poster, Library of Congress“Country flower fair, May 19 and 20, 1918, at the Bordeaux Town Hall. To benefit the war charities and children’s charities.” Poster art by A. Guindet, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, culture and history, design, French gardens, life in gardens, nature, vintage landscape

Home sweet France

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under architecture, culture and history, design, French gardens, garden design, landscape, nature, plants, travel