A good place for a walk at the end of a wet day. From Porte d’Auteuil metro station, through the Square des Poètes you come to the side entrance of the Jardin des Serres Auteuil.
On a wet day the paintwork of the glasshouses (or serres) stands out strongly, blue-green against the grey sky. The garden is open till 7.30 (up to November) but at 6.00 on a wet Wednesday the place was almost deserted. The few visitors stroll in a relaxed fashion that suggests this is a familiar haunt for them.
The two ranges of smaller glasshouses, arranged by geographical region or botanical family, close at 4.30, when the gardeners go home, but the main palm house stays open until the garden’s closing time. Unlike some municipal glass houses that feel like collections of overgrown house plants, this grand glass structure has a fascinating collection of thriving tropical plants. The labels are small and inconspicuous. There’s plenty to learn here but it’s also a place to simply linger and enjoy a taste of the exotic. There’s the sound of bird song, from an aviary of contended budgies, fat goldfish swimming in the pools, chairs and tables among the giant leaves.
When I first visited the Serres a year ago, it looked uncertain whether they would be renovated or left to continue their quiet decay. Now there’s major renovation work underway and the future of this extraordinary garden looks secure. If you’re planning a visit, check the Mairie de Paris website for more information.
(Click on any picture for a larger view).