Paris Lawns: Forbidden or Not?

Lawn Forbidden

Lawn Forbidden

 

But we can picnic here (in that season anyway)

But we can picnic here (in that season anyway)

Thank you for not walking on the lawns

Thank you for not walking on the lawns

Paris appears to have a rather ambivalent relationship with the city’s public lawns—in parks and gardens, large and small.

On the one hand, Parisians obviously love their lawns and will sit on them at any time, especially in the warmer weather, to relax, have a picnic, play frisbee or ball.

And if there is not a lawn available, they will often create a fake green covering, as on the roof top lookout at the famous department store, Galeries Lafayette.

You could almost believe this was a lawn not he roof top

You could almost believe this was a lawn on the roof top

The lawns of this garden are having a winter rest...

The lawns of this garden are having a winter rest…

But, on the other hand, park and/or city officials, often place signs forbidding us to step on the lawn at all, never mind sitting or playing on it.

I can understand if the sign forbids dogs on the grass. And if the lawn is “resting’ for the winter (or the summer) that’s understandable, but sometimes there seems to be no reason for the sign. For me, that’s perplexing.

Dogs forbidden

Dogs forbidden

Author Stephen Clarke sums it up quite well in “Paris Revealed. The Secret Life of a City” (page 124). He says, “….the notorious Pelouse Interdite signs, which usually make me want to laugh and cry. Laugh, because it seems absurd to erect a sign saying ‘lawn forbidden’ on a lawn….And cry because the sign means more than just ‘keep off the lawn’. It is saying ‘no fun or relaxation here’”.

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Luckily there are plenty of open lawns, so this is just one more Paris enigma, something that makes the city what it is—fascinating and complex.

A lovely picnic at Parc Andre Citroen (16th arrondissement)

A lovely picnic at Parc Andre Citroen (16th arrondissement)

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

Enjoying the grass at Place des Vosges

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About viviennemackie

Avid traveler, travel writer and photographer. In an earlier life I was a psychologist, but now am an ESL teacher. Very interested in multiculturalism, and how travel can expand one's horizons, understanding and tolerance.
This entry was posted in Daily life, Paris, Paris sights, parks and gardens, stories about Paris and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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