jeudi 19 avril 2012

Flower Market, Ile de la Cité

View towards the spires of Notre Dame

Anyone who has trudged out of the Prefecture de la Police after a long wait to renew their resident's card will not be able to avoid having their heart lifted by the sight of the Marché aux Fleurs which is right next to the Prefecture in the Ile Saint Louis/Notre Dame quarter.

But you don't have to suffer hours of adminisration and waiting to enjoy the market which you cannot miss as Cité is the only metro station on Ile Saint Louis.

Coming out of the 'belle epoque' metro Cité you fall upon the market at Place Louis Lépine (who was a Parisien prefect) and who could resist a little walk amongst the refreshing greenery?

The market has existed since 1808 and is open every day from 8h - 19H30 except on Sundays when the place is transformed into a bird market.  The market is a mixture of florists, shops selling garden nick nacks, a couple of postcard/souvenir shops, plant shops, a shop for cactii and carnivorous plants, a store selling bird boxes and dreamcatchers, other shops selling garden sculptures, wrought iron decorations, pots, multicoloured watering cans, unusual lights and lanterns to cheer up the garden, birdcages, paintings and beautiful flower and plant related cards.  But the overall impression is that of greenery and beautifully arranged multicoloured blooms with huge olive trees and large bare rooted bushes and trees waiting outside  to grace the most elegant roof terraces in Paris.

One shop selling seeds for everything

A walk in the market is like walking in an unexpected enchanted garden with a peculiar mixture of flowers that shouldn't yet be blooming (I went in spring) which have evidently come from greenhouses, and a typical garden centre selling  healthy, seasonal and some unusual plants, some common but still beautiful.  I was pleased to find some large ferns for 10 Euros for example, which I really can't seem to find in the big garden centres, plus other green plants for balconies or gardens..  It was such a pleasure to spend half an hour marvelling at the show.

If you're looking for a little bit of fresh air and greenery amongst the other well known and ubiquitous tourist attractions in this area, spend some time here and recharge your batteries and try to walk away without even buying a little souvenir!

Here's a blog in French about the market:  .

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