As many of you know, I’m in Paris doing my annual house/cat-sitting (and medical tourism) while Chris and his wife Joelle are on the annual French tradition (god bless ‘em) of taking the month of August off for travel.
Even if it’s just visiting family or friends in a nearby town, the French excel at their love of, and respect for, leisure. It’s something I’m always envious of every time I visit.
This past Sunday, I decided to take a walk in the nearby park, which just happens to the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris’ second largest park, and the home of the French Senate.
Initially built by Marie de Medicis in 1611, the grounds (and palace) of this park are palatial. It’s full of tennis courts, playground, pony rides and push-carts and toy boats for kids, and beautiful strolls for the rest of us.
Here are a few photos, and some stories I picked up along the walk…. including stumbling upon a large group of people dancing the tango (and I got video).
So, as I’m walking on the far side of the park, having passed a male jogger who was spending far too much time giddily chatting up the rather hot French cops guarding the Senate, I hear tango music, which was odd, since I’d never known them to do music in the park (not when I’ve been there), let alone tango. So I approached.
And what do you know, people were in the gazebo dancing to tango music, and lots of folks had pulled up chairs to enjoy it.
Apparently, they’d been doing tango every Sunday for the past four weeks – the final week is next Sunday. And everyone was quite good at it, which made me think this was some sort of tango club or something. Most of these folks were not rank amateurs.
In the photo above, the person on the right in the cream hat was a joy of a woman named Sveva. She’s Dutch, her name is Italian, and she’s lived in Paris for decades. Sveva and I bonded over the music.
And here’s a quick video I shot of the people dancing the tango:
After the last tango (I know, in Paris), I left and wandered around the park a bit. It was approaching 8pm, and the sky was getting a bit darker, and a lot of folks had left. Still, it’s such a beautiful place. It’s hard to imagine that for locals like Sveva, this is just the neighborhood park.
And here’s one final panorama of the palace and garden. I’m still working on it – this is a composite of 9 images, and I need to readjust some of the images a bit. But you get the idea. I’ll likely be printing this one out when I get home:
PS On the way home, about a block from Chris and Joelle’s (the park is only two blocks away from their place), I heard some music playing, and noticed an old man shutting his window to block out the noise. But it wasn’t noise at all. Some Frenchman was playing the piano and signing a French song, with the windows wide open because, this is Paris after all, and no one has air conditioning. It was a delight. Here’s a quick snippet of the music from the street (oh, and I considered that it might have been a recording, but it sounded too live, and there were a few mistakes, so it had to live):