Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Grass Is Resting


Paris weekend weather has been amazing lately and to catch some sun I decided to go to a park near my apartment. I expected the park to be flooded with people (as it always is when there’s even a tiny bit of sun). What I didn’t expect, because I forgot about this annoying French quirk, was for the grass to be resting. Those of you who live here or have visited know what I’m talking about - the signs that signal the grass is “en repos”, or in other words “Stay Off!”.

This is something that I still don’t understand. If the grass needs to rest when the weather is crappy – fine, but when it’s sunny and in the 70s the grass is meant to be enjoyed. The French are so strict about this that they even have grass police in some parks. I was having lunch in a well known, large park near the office (I was on a bench) when 2 women appeared blowing whistles and motioning to people who were lunching on the grass to get off. It’s times like these when I miss Seattle and it’s abundance of non-resting greenery…

8 comments:

David said...

Not a French thing, but a Paris thing.

In the rest of France, officials have understood what the grass is for (to rest, picnic, frolic in it). Parisians haven't. They think it's there only to look pretty and parks are made to be walked in, and not anything else.

Le Tigre in France said...

Interesting, I never realised before. Perhaps it's a way of getting certain troublesome cops off the beat and into crappy jobs like this? Hehe.

A Novelist said...

What a gorgeous picture! :)

F.O.T. said...

Yes, but how long does it "rest"?

La Belette Rouge said...

With lush grass like that how do you resist staying off of it? And, if the grass cops catch you on it can you get a ticket? Wow! Grass is in repose. Who knew?

A Seattleite in Paris said...

David - could be, I don't remember seeing these signs when I lived in southeast France

Tigre - I hadn't thought of that :)

Novelist - Thanks

FOT and Belette - I don't know how long it rests, and resting grass in a public park during nice weather just seems absurd to me. Now I'm curious too if sitting on resting grass is a "ticketable" offense...

David said...

It usually "rests" until mid-Spring. But it really depends on parks. In some parks (I'm thinking Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries Gardens) you just can't walk on the grass... ever... Now I must admit that there are a handful of parks where you actually can walk on the grass all year long. But sorry guys, I swore to not mention them on the internet as they're pretty empty of tourists, and I'd like them to stay this way...
Ok, I can give out a couple of names: Butte-Chaumont et Villette.

And yeah, you get a ticket if you walk on this forbidden grass, I don't really know how much it is (it's written on the park rules at the entrance).

caelle said...

it used to be a lot worse, it was entirely forbidden to walk on grass.