When I was lucky enough to live in Paris, many a Sunday was spent in the Parc de Sceaux.
The formal gardens and Château de Sceaux
Sunday mornings would start with a jog round the natural running course which runs around the park. However, this was just so that I didn’t feel as guilty for the rest of the day, which was either spent in the little cafe within the park, or in one of the many cafes/restaurants in the wonderful little village of Sceaux, which lies just to the north.
Or when I simply lay in the sun, and enjoyed a sumptuous picnic – the ingredients for which were easily found in the little market and boutique foodshops in Sceaux.
NOTE: Although the actual central market building is closed on a Sunday morning, the building is surrounded by every kind of market foodseller that you can imagine.
The sensational local market in the village of Sceaux – get here early for picnic supplies!
Think of Sceaux like a miniature Versailles. But with a much smaller chateau (which houses the Musée du Domaine Départemental de Sceaux) – and nothing but French accents.
There is even an open-air swimming pool, in enclosed landscaped gardens – although this is really busy on weekends/school holidays. At other times, and assuming that you have brought/bought a swimsuit, then a morning spent here (a little snack bar sells food and drink), is a rather pleasurable start to an amazing day. After a good swim, wander through the wooded park, and watch children (and adults!) sail their toy boats on the ponds.
The Château de Sceaux – surveying the landscaped gardens
Or just pack a picnic, a blanket, and find a quiet area of grass (which is very easy to do – the place is huge) – and lie back & enjoy the French sunshine.
My visit, purely by chance, coincided with the annual fundraising event by Vaincre la Mucoviscidose (Defeat Cystic Fibrosis) charity.
And it is a huge event (now in its 21st year). Hundreds of participants, of all ages, take part in a variety of walking & running challenges.
And there is a huge Breton influence (it turns out that Brittany has one of the highest incidences of Cystic Fibrosis in France). So, central to the day was the appearance of a pipe-playing marching band from Brittany. And, as soon as I heard the distant sound of bagpipes being played, I just had to find the source and show solidarity with my charity-supporting “celtique” brothers and sisters. They were just as in awe of my kilt, as I was in their music.
The formal park gardens are laid out on many levels. With steps everywhere. However, there is always a step-free alternative (although sometimes this involves quite a long detour).
The paths, especially at the northern end of the park, are composed of varying depths of small stones. Which make for hard work for wheelchair-users. However, the paths that surround the lake/pond are tarmac.
The “fromagerie” in Sceaux – one of many stunning little artisanal foodshops
And once you tire of just lazing around in the park, wander along to the village of Sceaux, where classy cafes & restaurants await on the pedestrianised streets.
I had grand visions of what to include in this article. But during my research, I found this amazing, and recent, article by Time Out. So rather than reinvent the wheel…