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Trip Report Paris V: the Antipodes Jardin Albert Kahn

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Sorry to be a day late with this. I worked hard writing yesterday, but Fodor's server went down while I uploaded. So I will write again.

This describes trips to two Parisian gardens on successive days. Well, they are not quite Parisian gardens because each is located in a suburb, though not a banlieue, but they count because each is at the end of a Metro line and each is at the limit of zone 2 on your ticket. I think of them as the Antipodes because they are about as far apart as you can get going straight across Paris.

The Jardin Albert Kahn is in Boulogne-Billancourt, around the corner from the Pont St Cloud stop on Line 10. We had begun at Gare de l'Est on Line 4, changing at Odeon, a long way for €1.4.

Kahn was a philanthropic banker who knew everyone worth knowing and who was devoted to world harmony and gardens. There is an innovative museum at the site which features this work. He commissioned photographers to document the world, and there are beautiful color pictures, superbly restored, of the world mostly before 1914. Speaking of pictures, Kerouac has photographed this, though I haven't had time to look them up. His photos are always almost like being there.

The gardens show what you could do in thirty years if you had lots of money, lots of cheap labor, and lots of imagination. When you leave the museum, you are in an elaborate Japanese garden which stretches away on both sides. Beyond that are a pair of formal gardens, a lawn with flower beds backed by a conservatory, and an espaliered orchard and climbing rose garden. Behind these are a series of woodland and meadow gardens that were very distinct in Kahn's mind but which for the visitor flow mostly into a series of extremely pleasant woodland walks -- in the midst of a city.

In the "Vosges" section, I took pictures that look just like pictures from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, though the boulders here are placed by art and not glaciers! A wonderful feature throughout are little plaques with quotes and pictures by people from the neighborhood that recount their pleasures in the gardens from childhood to old age (including where they used to go to make out as teenagers)! If Kahn's larger purpose was doomed, he has certainly brought peace and joy to many through this garden.

We went back to the 10th beginning on the 72 bus which also terminates at Pont St Cloud and goes all the way to the Hotel de Ville, albeit ever more slowly as it gets into the congested tourist areas. If you get on at the beginning, you have a seat all the way.

Much of the route runs along the Seine past fabulously wealthy neighborhoods, then The Sites/Sights/Must sees -- the Eiffel and Trocadero, Invalides, the General Assembly and the Palais's, Petit and Grand, Concorde, the Louvre, all the way to the Conciegerie, the streets and the bus growing the more crowded all the time. I am extremely fortunate, and I know it, to be retired and to be able to travel off-season because I simply could not manage the crowds.

Finally, we arrived at the Hotel de Ville and made our way down Avenue Victoria to Boulevard Sebastopol where we caught the 38 bus just opposite Chatelet. On the way "home" we drove by a block somewhere near Chateau d'Eaux, where a small African market had developed in front of some Afro-Caribbean shops, and it looked like my idea of, say, Dahomey, (not that I know anything about ?Dahomey!) with everyone in national dress and lots of loud music. How great is that for another €1.4?

In terror of losing this all again, I am going to post this and come back later with our trip to the Chateau de Vincennes.

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