When you think of what makes Paris famous, you'll likely think of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, or the Champs-Élysées. If you're into gardens, you'll also likely think of the Luxembourg Gardens or the Tuileries Garden, some of the most well-known gardens in the city. However, you might not think of the countless other, lesser known gardens that are strewn throughout Paris. But, with Susan Cahill's new book, Hidden Gardens of Paris, you can delve into forty of these lesser known, but no less amazing, garden spaces. From L'École Normale Supérieure in the Latin Quarter, to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in northeastern Paris, you can find a quiet, beautiful spot to stop and relax in no matter what part of the city you are visiting. Keep reading to find out why it's worth your time to pour through this book before your next trip to the City of Light.
While this is ostensibly a book about Parisian gardens, it's also part history book. Tucked into the inspiring discussions of how each garden looks and feels are historical tidbits and stories, each helping you appreciate the space for more than just its looks. I found that Susan's weaving of history into the greater story of each garden compelling, more so than just some flowery (no pun intended, I swear) discussion of the botanical interests.
One of the major strengths of this book is its coverage of a wide range of different areas around Paris. It seems that anywhere you might want to visit, you can find at least one garden nearby, to stop, relax, and enjoy. Or, if you want to let the gardens lead you around, you won't find yourself missing out on critical, must-see places, either.
No matter where I'm visiting, I'm always looking for a good park to stop in, sit down, and get off my feet. You can people watch, absorb your surroundings, and really get to know an area. With all the gardens at your disposal, you'll have no excuse for pushing yourself too hard on your next visit to Paris. But for the sightsee-aholics out there, not to worry. Each garden entry in this book has numerous local points of interest that can help you find where you want to eat, drink, or sightsee after you're done enjoying your nature time.
Hidden Gardens of Paris is a solid, focused guide to...well, the gardens of Paris. It's a welcome respite from generic guides and endless searches on the Internet. For me, the hardest part of reading the book would be deciding which gardens to visit. With so many options, I think that you still might have trouble narrowing down your favorites, with the little niblets of history and the colorful descriptions tempting you into visiting each space. My suggestion? Decide on the areas you want to visit beforehand then review the entries for those areas. That way you won't overload yourself with info. You can pick up Hidden Gardens of Paris: A Guide to the Parks, Squares, and Woodlands of the City of Light at Amazon for a mere $14.