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The dust has barely settled on the tragic fire at Notre-Dame cathedral, but for anyone in need of a pick-me-up this weekend, the traditional Japanese spring festival Hanami is coming to Paris – and it is ready to celebrate all things cherry blossom-related…
One of the best kept secrets of the season, it will descend on the beautiful Parc de Sceaux on April 20 and 21, where dance parades and concerts will take place each afternoon.
Celebrating the birth of the blossoms has been a tradition since the 8th century, when emperors would hold epic parties for the public, but now there will be a taste of Japan in Paris. Organizers will be selling homemade sushi and sake, while special performance guests will serenade the public with classic guitar, flute, processions with drums and dance moves. Even once the spaces are allocated for the shows, it’ll still be worth heading to the park for the artisan workshops, mouth-watering food trucks and of course blossom viewings. Floral fetishists unite!
Barely half an hour by train from central Paris, this criminally under-rated park always comes alive in spring. The pleasure of strolling its gardens is made all the more intense by the bright pink petals lighting up the sky, while the local Saturday strawberry market offers snacks with which to fill up a picnic basket when hunger pangs strike. Elsewhere in the area is a chateau with a tree-lined approach boasting perfect topiary. The waterfalls are also spectacular and enthusiasts have described the Sceaux chateau experience as a “miniature Versailles”.
This weekend, however, it’ll all be about the cherry blossom – and below are the details you need to know to join the party:
Distance From City:
6 miles from central Paris
RER B train to Parc de Sceaux
Free to access park
Buy a themed bottle of Hanami wine to share with friends or family on a picnic – the perfect accompaniment to blossom-gazing. This fruity Cabernet Franc, directly inspired by the blossom, is produced just a short distance from Coco Chanel’s birthplace in Saumur, Loire Valley.
Lead photo credit : Cherry blossoms at the Parc de Sceaux. Photo: Dinkum/ Wikimedia/ Public domain