Where To Breathe In Paris

Consider the chain of “Places,” which we would call “Squares,” where there is really a space big enough to let the automobile gas mount to the upper regions and leave room below for air. For the learned men have proven that the air near the ground in Paris is better than that higher up as for instance upon the first plat-form of the Eiffel Tower.

The most striking Place is that of the Etoile, from every point of view. After that comes the Concorde; then, in a lesser degree, the Madeleine, the Opéra and Place Vendôme, with its overlooked companion at the other end of the rue des Petits Champs, the Place des Victoires.

The Places of the Bastille, the République, and the Nation, are three stopping places on the long strip of the Grand Boulevards and their extension.

Add to these, the Place du Trocadéro, the Place Victor Hugo, the Place des Ternes, of Pereire, of St Augustin, of Malesherbes, and of Clichy; and scattered farther out, the Place Daumesnil, the Place Voltaire, the Place d’Italie, the Place Denfert-Rochereau, and the Place de Breteuil, and you have open spots which would make up the area of a great city in other countries. Paris takes them so for granted, that with the exception of the fashionable ones, frequented by tourists, she seldom points them out.

Few are the quarters of the town where you do not find the small “Square,” as they call the little park to distinguish it from Garden. There are literally hundreds of them, and they are constantly increasing in number. The oldest one is that of the Tour St Jacques; but the Square de Montholon, the Square du Temple, the Square des Epinettes, are all of local meaning and well-favored. Many churches have little parks with benches, as St Germain-des-Près and the Trinité, and the interesting one of St Vincent-de-Paul, which is ter-raced. In front of most of the Mairies there are little triangles, circles, or squares, with their shrubs and their seats.

The large parks cover more ground than you would imagine; the Tuileries Gardens has fifty-six acres, and the Luxembourg about the same number. The Park of Butte Chaumont, created in 1867 on a perfectly bald hill, honeycombed with quarries, has fifty-seven acres and is one which you must be sure to visit; it has peculiar charm. The Park of Montsouris, across from the growing Cité Universitaire, has thirty-eight acres; and the Jardin des Plantes, the oldest public garden in Paris, has fifty-eight acres.

As for the Bois de Boulogne, it occupies twenty-one hundred acres, and the great people’s Bois de Vincennes, which I much prefer because of its open spaces, has twenty-three hundred acres.

If you still want to breathe, there are the quays with their benches; and the boulevards with theirs. There is the whole length of the Champs Elysées and the Champs de Mars, and the greensward about the Grand and the Petit Palais. Very soon, too, the Outer Boulevards will have trees along their whole twenty-one-mile circuit and be the newest of breathing spots encircling Paris, just where the suburbs begin.

Try breathing!