Bees and fruit

People may be tapping on their smartphones throughout it but the Jardin du Luxembourg is very traditional with boules, a carousel and old fashioned swings.

I’d never noticed these traditional beehives before, or the orchard (below), originally tended by monks from the Chartreux monastery. It’s home to over 600 varieties of apples and pears, many very old, all trained as cordons, espaliers, U shapes and pyramids. It aims to show the public just how many varieties can be grown in France. Some of fruits were shrouded in paper bags – to keep them unblemished, maybe?

One pear tree even had its own obituary. A ‘Louise Bonne D’Avranches’ died at the age of 111 in 1978.

But if you don’t have an iPhone…


There’s a TV ad in France at the moment which shows everything you can do with an iPhone – do your shopping, check cinema times etc. It ends with: ‘But if you don’t have an iPhone… well, you don’t have an iPhone.’ I can’t remember if we had the same ad in the UK.

On a beautiful autumn day in the Jardin du Luxembourg, some people were busy tapping away at their smartphones or talking on them. Others were snoozing or reading books and newspapers. I’d say the split was about 50:50.

Esther and I had gone for the low-tech option of a snooze in the low, olive green chairs (sitting on the grass is mostly interdit in France). Neither of us have smartphones. Esther reckons she definitely doesn’t want one and I’m wavering. I know it would probably be handy but all that endless tapping and stroking looks a bit tedious to me, and I feel like I’ve got information overload anyway.

As the sun went down, we decided it might be nice to go to the cinema that evening. But of course, in the middle of the park, we didn’t have a clue what was on. But if you don’t have an iPhone, well, you don’t have an iPhone…