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The Luxembourg gardens

Dad and I often went to the Luxembourg Gardens. First, because we could walk there (it's not very far from the avenue des Gobelins), then because we liked this park with its green-grey statues, its triton fountains in their paddling pool, its central pond where generations of kids in shorts pushed wooden sailboats with sticks, and cried when one of them got stuck in the middle, submerged by the central water jet.

Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942). Élégante du Jardin du Luxembourg devant le lion de Nubie (1889). Terra Foundation for American Art.
Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942). Élégante du Jardin du Luxembourg devant le lion de Nubie (1889). Terra Foundation for American Art.

Dad and I, therefore, often went to the Luxembourg Gardens. There was Guignol, in his theater with walls painted green, the beaten-dust tennis courts where, years later, I scrapped my buddy Stéphane (he was blond like Borg, I'm dark like Vilas), the chairs ladies on the lookout for asses posed at the freefall, and the merry-go-round...

Manège au jardin du Luxembourg. Jacques Trecour.
Manège au jardin du Luxembourg. Jacques Trecour.

… the merry-go-round. I remember it in the winter. Dressed in my little blue coat, perched on one of the woody horses, I proudly held a wand horizontally. Before the starting signal, an employee was going to load a clog hanging on the side with rings of scrap metal. The purpose of the game was, on each pass, to grab a ring and slide it along the stick. At the end of the round, the rings were counted and whoever had the most won a charming prize.

Albert Edelfelt (1854-1905). L’enfant au cerceau et sa nurse au Jardin du Luxembourg (1887). Ateneum Taidemuseo Helsinki (Finlande).
Albert Edelfelt (1854-1905). L’enfant au cerceau et sa nurse au Jardin du Luxembourg (1887). Ateneum Taidemuseo Helsinki (Finlande).

I was quite good at this game. My cheeks were red under the December breeze. I looked at my father who was smiling at me. I showed him my derisory trophies and he encouraged me as if I had accomplished a glorious feat of arms.

Then I dismounted like a Tartar warrior of the steppes. There, I was going to snuggle up in his arms, those that I miss so much, still today, forty-one years after he passed away.

Luxembourg, this garden so dear to my heart…


(c) Fabrice Roy 2022



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