Just a short walk from our apartment building in Rueil, was a lovely little park called the Parc de l’Amitié — Friendship Park. As far as I could tell, the only reason it was named that was because there was a sign in the center of the park listing “sister cities” of Rueil in different countries. Fair enough. As I entered the gate on the east side of the park, a meandering little sidewalk took me around the periphery, lined with the most beautifully-scented plants. I’m no botanist, so I have no idea what they were, unfortunately, but they smelled heavenly. I loved to take my time walking down that path, with multiple prolonged pauses just to inhale. I probably would have stood out there longer if I didn’t think people would start wondering about me. The eastern end of the park had several benches stationed near the path and a gentle hill in the middle with a few shade trees. It was a wonderful place to sit and enjoy a sunny day (especially if everyone else was at work).
Near the center of the park, the path split around a large rock. The path on the right led up to a poorly-maintained Japanese rock garden. Partially enclosed, it mostly served as a giant ash tray for the teenagers who liked to make out on the benches. Best avoided. But the path to the left of the large rock wound through some large, fragrant bushes (I really need to find out what’s planted there) and up to a little pond spanned by a steep yet charmingly perfect little red bridge. I loved that bridge. It seemed as though hardly anyone lingered there, so often I could sit and daydream by myself.
Even though I felt as if I could stay there all day, there was more to the park just waiting to be enjoyed. Continuing on down the path, I’d find myself in a great lawn of daffodils. At that point, I could no longer resist — I’d kick off my sandals and walk in the cool, lush grass. Once I found a spot not overly-occupied by daffodils, I’d plop down and try to soak in the soft breeze, the warm sun, the beauty of the flowers all around me and their scents…
Just across from the daffodil lawn was the rose garden with over fifty varieties. A walk through that end of the park in summertime was truly a treat. Beyond the rose garden was the local music conservatory. The location couldn’t have been better. On warm days, the students would crack the windows of their practice rooms. Gentle strains of a violin, flute, or piano would drift down across the blooms, swirl around me in the soft breeze, and then drift away with the perfume of the flowers. It really doesn’t get more perfect than that.
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