Moi Président de la République…


j’ouvrirais les jardins du palais de l’Elysée*

It was a gorgeous, yet cold, fall day in Paris. A perfect day for the French presidential palace to open its ornate wrought-iron gate (topped with a golden French rooster, cocorico please!) to the public for the first Elysée gardens open house tour of the year. Starting with today, visitors will be able to stroll the green grass of the palais every last Sunday of the month. That’s better than the bi-annual White House Garden Tour, though there’s no kitchen garden at l’Elysée… 

I must say, Francois Hollande’s new policy to open the 18th-century Elysée Palace gardens to the public every last Sunday of the month (they were previously only open once a year during Les Journées du Patrimoine in September – when you can actually visit the inside of the palace too) may be the first of his policies that I approve of 😉

We waited about an hour to cross the Grille du Coq on October 28, 2012
The grounds of l’Elysée, once a jardin parc à la française, now à l’anglaise
Though a little bit of that 18th century French touch remains 😉
L’Elysée was built between 1718 and 1722 and was once occupied by Napoléon

In Paris on the last Sunday of a month? You can try your hand at reproducing Hollande’s official portrait when visiting the presidential gardens… They’re open from noon to 5PM until March and then from 1PM to 7PM from April to September. Entrance is free and takes place on the Champs Elysées side of the palais, kitty corner from the Grand Palais (metro stop: Champs Elysées-Clemenceau), in front of the grille du coq, the rooster gate. Entrance is free and you can bring food, but no glass bottles. A group of parisiens in front of us had clearly planned a nice picnic only to get their bottle of wine confiscated at the security check-point… 

* “Me President of the Republic… I will open the gates of the Elysée gardens.” The title of the post refers to Hollande’s use of the phrase “Moi Président de la Republique je…” (Me, when I’m president of the Republic, I will…) fifteen time during his televised debate with Nicolas Sarkozy during the campaign to announce how his presidency would differ from that of his predecessor.

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