Pond Boating in Luxembourg Garden: Paris
Sunshine and warm weather draw Parisians near and far to the City’s many parks and public spaces. The Jardin du Luxembourg, located in the 6th arrondissement, is one of Paris’s largest parks (55 acres), replete with fountains, statuary, formal gardens and boules courts. The setting is iconically Paris, where one can wallow away the day people watching, studying the architecture of the Luxembourg Palace or just daydreaming.
If you are with children however, one tradition in which to partake is renting a miniature (toy) sail boat and pushing it out into the depths of the Grand Basin, an octagonal pond that is the centerpiece of the Park. With a gentle push of a baton to launch the boat from the edge of the pond – with luck and a steady wind – your boat may zig-zag its way to the other side. Sailing a pond boat is an activity that takes patience and persistence. Yet, it is rewarding that a simple activity, enjoyed by generations of Parisians and visitors to the City, can provide nearly as much fun for children and adults alike as an iPad.
Many of the boats for hire in the Garden can be attributed to master boat builder Pierre Paudeau, who’s family acquired the rights from the French Senate to hire boats at the Basin in the 1920s. The Paudeau family reportedly maintained a small workshop to build and repair boats on Rue Visconti until 1972. Although you are unlikely to get ahold of an authentic Luxembourg Garden toy boat, if you are interested in sailing a miniature boat on your own pond or giving an heirloom gift, try a Tirot boat available here: http://slowlivingshop.com/collections/wooden-pond-boats .
Located in Brittany, Tirot is a family owned company that has been individually hand making their wooden toy boat designs in France since 1946.