Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jazz in Paris' Parc Floral

From jazz festivals to botanical collections, this park is a "must do". Music in the open air of Paris' parks and gardens? Sounds delightful doesn't it? That's because it is.

Parc Floral is a fairly large botanical garden to the east of Paris, and covers about 300,000 m2. It's found on the north end of Vincennes' Forest (Bois de Vincennes). There is a charge to enter, but it's less than 5 euros a person, and oh so worth it.

Created in 1969, the Parc Floral has various sections and botanical collections in it, which are both outdoors and indoors. Some of its botanical collections are of international fame and importance, and people come from all around just to see them. Some examples: there are over 200 types of tulips; multitudes of dahlia species; and even a collection of different kinds of ferns.

As you walk around you'll be able to enter into different sections of the park. There's a section called the '4 seasons' where all year 'round, you can discover something new and interesting. Other sections include: pines, dahlias, irises, lotuses, water lilies, and much more. Sometimes they even have a butterfly exhibit where you walk into one of the green houses and are immediately among a flutter of 25-30 different species of butterflies! Also indoors at the greenhouses you'll find little micro-climates of various plants and ecosystems, such as: a bonsai garden; a medicinal plant garden; a vine garden and a Mediterranean garden.

There are exhibitions of all kinds throughout the year. But the most exciting time to visit is during the summer when they have the jazz and classical music festivals. On more than one occasion my friends and I met there with our blankets and picnic fare, and played cards in the dappled sun light through the oak tree leaves while listening to jazz as it floated out over the park. This is one of Paris' beautiful places.

What to do after? Rent a row boat on Lac Daumesnil (Lake Daumesnil) in Vincennes' Forest (Bois de Vincennes), or picnic in the woods.

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