Tuesday, May 23, 2023






  ( Statue of Joan of Arc outside Tuiliries Garden )


In French , jardin means garden and des means of . The  train transit station in the heart of the Paris city is known as   Chatelet ( Chatelet Les Halles ) pronounced as  Shetlay in French. From Chatelet ,you can walk down to  some well known landmarks of Paris including Louvre museum, Sainte Chapple. Pantheon ,Notre Dame cathedral , Pont Neuf and some other places . There are multiple entry and exit points to Louvre museum.; two major being from the Seine river side and  the other opening on the road that leads to Chetelet train station. If you enter the spacious Louvre gate from Seine river side  , the Tuiliries garden falls on your left side just opposite to the glass Pyramid. And if you enter from the other side, the gardens fall on your right side just opposite to the glass Pyramid in the compound. From inside  the  garden, one can see   Arc de Triomphe , the Luxor Obelisk and the Eiffel tower. .Tuileries were royal gardens laid by Queen Catherine in 1564 outside the walled city of Paris. Tuileries means tiles. There must have been a tiles factory  at the spot before the gardens were planned to be laid.

The Tuileries  garden is actually located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France. The gardens were created by Catherine de' Medici as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was eventually opened to the public in 1667 and became a public park after the French Revolution.The gardens were completely redesigned in 1664 by Louis XIV’s landscape gardener, André Le Nôtre. At that time, it was opened for the enjoyment of ‘respectable folk ’ of Paris.After several modifications and partial privatisation – notably by Napoleon I then his nephew Napoleon III – it was finally opened to the general public in 1871.

Nestled between Louvre and Place de la Concorde, the gardens   are a pleasant place for walking .Place de la Concorde is one of the major and largest  public squares in Paris city . A walkable distance  of about 2.5 km from the central train junction known as Chatelet ( pronounced as Shetle) in Paris. The Square has a history.It was the site of many notable public executions  held during the period of French Revolution  . King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and Maximilien Robespierre were executed by the revolutionaries at this site  . The Luxor Obelisk gifted to France in 1830  by Mehmet Ali,the Sultan and Viceroy Of Egypt stands gracefully installed in the centre of Place de la Concorde . It is a 3000 years old carved stone  pillar 75 feet   in height that formed a part of the  Luxor Temple in Egypt   built during the rule of Ramesses II. The idea to transport the Luxor Obelisks to Paris appeared first during Napoleon's campaign in Egypt.

These gardens have historical and cultural significance. Inside the gardens, one can see many sculptures. The two ponds inside the gardens  are perfect places to relax by.Free chairs are available to watch the fountains and bask in the sun on a leisurely day.   Free restrooms are also available just at the corner opposite to one of the water ponds. The Musée de l’Orangerie museum  , where visitors can admire the works of Monet, is in the south-west part of the Tuileries. A royal palace was also built inside the garden which now has become a Public Park with free entry.  The Palais des Tuileries (Tuileries Palace) was the former residence of the Kings and Queens of France. One of the most beautiful palaces in France, it was completely  destroyed in 1871  during the Paris Commune.

        ( The Tuileries Palace before burning)
              ( The destroyed Tuileries Palace) 

The springtime grace of the garden attracts visitors from all over  the France. 

Every year, part of Paris Fashion Week is held there, bringing together celebrities, models, and fashion lovers. It is also the location for the Parisian “Fête des Tuileries”, a funfair that runs from June to August.

The Tuileries Garden was one of the direct witnesses of the history of France: during the uprising of 1789, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette took refuge in the palace after the revolutionaries had taken them back to the palace of Versailles.During the Paris Commune uprising, rioters burned the Tuileries Palace down to protest against royal and imperial power.

The garden had springtime flowers and greenery. We  saw some local school children also playing and enjoying their picnic.

One can have lunch ,dinner, breakfast ,juices, snacks in some tidy restaurants inside the gardens. We visited the garden three times. Every time ,I found some  young men from Senegal selling souvenirs and cheap gift items to   tourists. To us they kept saying:-
" Namaste., bada ki chhota. Hey babu ji
le lo  concession Karega".
Like the other  tourist spots of Paris , one finds young boys from Punjab selling mineral water for one Euro to tourists inside the Tuiliries gardens also. They appear illiterate and  from rural background. They  keep crying ," cold water., cold water ,one Euro ,one Euro." I need not repeat their painful story. For sure ,they are what we know as,' Kabootars' or the improper immigrants to Europe who were duped by greedy agents with false hopes of settling them in the far off lands of fortune. Unfortunately, many amongst  them  reveal most painful stories of  misfortune.  One amongst them told me that he first went to Italy where he was working as  farm help  for 18 hours a day for almost peanuts. Very painful story.

In the heart of the Tuileries Garden, the  Jeu de Paume  museum offers an edgy programme of exhibitions showcasing photographers from the 19th century to the present day, alongside films and installations.

( Avtar Mota )

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