I love Paris, of course, but there’s one thing about it that I don’t get: you’re rarely allowed to sit on the grass in a park. A few summers ago my French friend Esther and I tried to sneak in a rest under a tree in the Jardin Albert Kahn. We were moved on within minutes by a scary lady with a whistle and a loud hailer.
The grass in the park beyond the gate (above) wasn’t exactly bowling green standard but nonetheless the sign says that the lawn is ‘having a rest’, and that the quality of the grass is ‘everyone’s responsibility’.
Maybe it was just a temporary sign, but Esther confirms that she can rarely find anywhere to sprawl and read a book or sunbathe in summer and she finds it frustrating – especially as she spent many years in London, where you can lounge pretty much anywhere. Maybe the reason why Paris empties in August is because the population is desperate for an alfresco lie- down.