Rosarie du Val-de-Marne, l’Hay les Roses

The archetypical rose garden, designed in the late 1800s by a Parisian businessman, Jules Gravereaux, who loved roses and Edouard Andre, a garden architect; this garden is a return to the structured, symetrical forms of the classical french garden, but on a smaller and more intimate scale.  Although it’s large for its purpose.  It was designed to display a single type of plant, the rose.  The genius of both the rosier and the garden architect are exhibited in the breathtaking use of roses to provde structure to the garden.  Roses form pillars of color fifteen feet in diameter and as tall as a house.  Roses cling to trellises and fences and swags of chan between the taller features.  Roses provide the colors of the rainbow on walls and are shaped over domes and arbors to provide delightfully scented shady places on hot June days.  Both the history and the beauty of the rose are celebrated here.

I discovered two of my favorite climbers there.  Veichenblau is an unusually shaped, small, purple/blue once-bloomer that shows off its colors in large clusters.  City of York is a simple, classic white rose but I can find it in any rose garden by its wonderful scent.

Although it’s in a nearby suburb, not Paris itself, you can take public transportation from central Paris.  You can use the RATP trip planner to plan your trip to the nearby suburb of l’Hay les Roses, Bus Stop: Sous-Prefecture-Eglise.  The bus stops right across from the entrance to the park. 

A word about venturing out of central Paris; there will be fewer people who speak any English.  Go armed with maps and visuals if you don’t speak any French.  You can print out the informaton for the buses at the RATP site, for example.  And I found it took me longer than the trip information said. On transfers, just about the time that I figured out which bus I should take it was pulling out and I had to wait for the next one.  But it’s really fun to watch the bus drivers navigate those huge city buses through the tiny streets.

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