Celebrate Springtime in Paris: Our Experts Share Favorite Things to Do

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Celebrate Springtime in Paris: Our Experts Share Favorite Things to Do
There’s a reason so many songs and poems have been dedicated to Paris in the springtime. The trees are in blossom, the daylight lingers longer, the café terraces fill up with Parisians heading out of winter hibernation. Even a little rain can’t dampen our spirits! Here are some tips on favorite things to do in Paris in the springtime, as recommended by our expert contributors. A Pilgrimage to the Jardin des Plantes Each spring, I make a pilgrimage to the Jardin des Plantes Japanese cherry tree, whose limbs sweep the ground in a grand gesture of delicate white. You can step inside and lose yourself in a swirl of spring. This tree blooms before most other cherry trees in the city, so you have to stay in touch with the rhythms of the season. — Meredith Mullins is an internationally exhibited fine art photographer and instructor based in Paris. Cherry Blossoms There are few things more quintessentially Parisian in the springtime than the city’s iconic landmarks accented by delicate pink cherry blossom. During March and April, the candy-floss colored petals sprout from the cerisier and magnolia trees in dozens of locations around the city. Best spots range from the Palais Royal and Notre Dame cathedral to the Champ de Mars and Trocadero, separated from each other only by the Seine. However perhaps the best-kept secret of all is the Parc de Sceaux, boasting spacious gardens and a fairytale chateau merely a few miles outside of Paris. Within the city limits, the Eiffel Tower is naturally the ultimate location for blossom spotting, but expect competition for camera space. Plus when you tire of photography, the tower’s top signature restaurant, Le Jules Verne, is due to relaunch this spring. — Chloe Govan is an award-winning writer and channel-hopping Francophile with a penchant for Parisian life. Two Tiny Islands in the 12th Arrondissement In my early years in the 12th district, I thought it was one island in the middle of Lac Daumesnil. In fact there are two, l’Isle de Reuilly and l’Isle de Bercy, connected by a footbridge. But then for years I thought the Lac was a real lake. It’s artificial, pumped with water from the Seine. The fish that swim there (and are sometimes landed by anglers) are real, however. The Lac Daumesnil is in the southwest corner of the Bois de Vincennes, near the Porte Dorée metro and tram stops. A path for strolling, jogging, or running circles the lake, and not far from it is an impressive Buddhist temple. The islets are easily reached, and in the springtime you can walk through verdure and flowers, or relax in an atmospheric grotto (artificial, of course). — Dimitri Keramitas is a writer (film critic, fiction) and the director of the creative writing program at WICE, a Paris-based organization. Springtime Tip: Embrace the Rain Sometimes in Paris, a little rain must fall. No matter when you’re visiting the City of Light, the weather here can change at the drop of an Elsa Schiaparelli hat. But showers don’t typically last long, so I recommend always packing your camera. Plus, completely agreeing with Gil Pender’s character in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” flick, the city is drop dead gorgeous in the rain. It’s true. Prior to your trip, study photos by the likes of Robert Frank, Brassaï, and Man Ray to see what I mean. You’d think Paris never had a nice sunny day. So why not embrace the rain? Soon you’ll be spotting weeping cherubs, tree branches rain glazed into sculptures, umbrellas left open to drip-dry in vestibules, miniature Parisian lap dogs decked out in head-to-tail rain gear, and maybe your own spiffy reflections in puddles between wet cobblestones. “Take the picture! Take the picture!” as Audrey Hepburn might say. One more tip for the misty rues: If you need a break from the rain or wind, it’s okay to hang out (and dry out) in a warm cafe with a coffee or a beer in a seat by a window—and keep shooting for hours. Nobody’s going to kick you out. It’s Paris, after all. As Henry Miller once penned, “The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass , it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” The world in a grain of sand . . . or a drop of rain? — Theadora Brack is a Paris-based writer who has a regular column, called “My Life in Paris,” in France Today magazine. Parisian Café Culture in the Butte aux Cailles I have a soft spot for my Parisian village, the Butte aux Cailles in the 13th arrondissement. Clinging to a hilltop, this historic ‘hood is threaded with cobblestone alleys and adorned with street art (be on the look-out for Miss.Tic’s clever stenciled ladies and their poetic witticisms). The main drag is lined with cafés which get quite lively when the weather’s fine. Here you can grab a seat on the sidewalk, soak up the sun, and while away the afternoon over a coffee or a beer. –Mary Winston Nicklin is the editor of Bonjour Paris. A Café Crème and the Luxembourg Gardens Each year I spend a month in Paris and I normally aim to have that in March. The winter months are ending and the plants in the Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuileries and all the tucked-away squares…
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Lead photo credit : Japanese cherry tree in the Jardin des Plantes. Photo: Meredith Mullins

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BP's expert editorial team includes some of the city's top English-language journalists.

Comments

  • Janine Cortell
    2019-03-21 15:54:50
    Janine Cortell
    My faviorite place to sit, people watch and read when I am in Paris is the Place des Vosges. It is such fun to see children running, nannies pushing baby carriages, students sitting on the grass drawing. Thank you fr this incredibly wonderful article full of new ideas for enjoying springtime in Paris!!

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