October 8, 2016
A slow start to our first real day in Paris. Not knowing what to expect after the terrorist attacks in Paris and France we decided to keep things simple and on the Left Bank. Our goal is stick to places that are walled, patrolled and have security to go through upon entry. Today we visited Jardin des Plantes, and once inside we explored la grande galerie d’evolution and the labyrinth.
Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden of France and spans roughly 70 acres. It is also one of the 7 departments of the Natural History Museum of Paris. This park opened to the masses in 1640 and on account of an amazing team of botanists is home to close to 7000 species of plant life.
Here in Plantes I slowed down and realized how happy I was to be back in my favourite city. I am trying to practice Ignation Spirituality and today I found God in Jardin des Plantes. I heard Him in the laughter of my husband and children and I saw Him reflected in the gorgeous landscape of trees so twisted, knobbly and wisened they defy description and take my breath away every time I see them!
In the labyrinth I watched my 12 year old become a child again running, laughing, full of joy twisting her way to the center of the maze all the while playing hide and seek with her brother and sister living in the moment…coolness factor long forgotten as she was caught up in the thrill of solving the maze.
As a mom, I live for these moments. Even though the folie at the center of the maze was cordoned off for restoration all the 15 to 20 children including Matt collaborating to solve the maze together found their way in to the pinnacle and took selfies before resuming their game of chase.
As for me a riddle that has puzzled me for nine years has finally been solved. I have been a rockhound for as long as I can remember. The gravel in Paris is gorgeous…promenading with my family I am always struck by how beautiful the gravel is…think agates in terracotta colours, white and blue. For years I have brought these stones home to add to my collection. I had one analyzed at home and survey says they are flint. How cool is that? The guy who analyzed the stone for me excitedly asked “Where did you get this? I responded “Paris.” A look of understanding crossed his face as he explained that the stone is common in Europe, uncommon in Canada except in Maritime provinces where it is found on account of ships that have run aground flint was used as ballast. And yes if you strike the stone against another, it will spark and smell of gun powder.
A banner day that ended with dinner from La Grande Epicerie!
Love to all.
Vivre la France!