Stephen Clarke: Spring in Paris

Stephen Clarke: Spring in Paris

Springtime in Paris can cause a serious dilemma. The city is one of the best places in the world to do cultural stuff, much of which is indoors, but once the weather is good, the last thing I want to do is shut myself away. As a writer, I have to spend many hours bathing in the light of my computer screen – which, unless Mac has come up with a brilliant invention between the time of writing this article and its publication – won’t give me my daily dose of vitamin D.

I’m not complaining because, deadlines permitting, I can choose my working hours. So when I get the chance, what I love to do in the springtime is find outings that combine my appetite for culture with a breath of fresh air (well, relatively fresh – this is Paris).

This spring, one of those seasonal excursions will certainly be to the Musée du Luxembourg, on the edge of the gardens of the same name.

The little Pavillon de la Fontaine café, with its classic green ironwork, usually tests my waiter management skills, but if I stay calm, and patient, it’s usually worth the effort to sit outdoors among the chestnut trees and soak up some spring sun.

I will also be going to the Bois de Boulogne, it isn’t my favourite Parisian green space. I prefer parks to be a bit less drive-through. I may also go into the adjoining Jardin d’Acclimatation. This was created in the 19th century as a zoo where exotic animals were held to acclimatise to captivity in the cold north. During the Siege of Paris in 1871, the starving locals increased their protein intake by roasting the residents of the Jardin, including its elephants, camels and bears. These days, the lunch menu at the Terrasse du Jardin is much more civilised. And my favourite thing about it is that, unlike famous Parisian restaurants like the Tour d’Argent and Jules Verne, it fully lives up to its name. It does indeed have a huge terrace in a garden- exactly what I need on a perfect Parisian spring day.

Stephen Clarke‘s novel The Spy Who Inspired Me is a spoof thriller set in France. This article was adapted from France Magazine, now merged into France Today magazine. For more Paris content see

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