Scene Setter: Paris hemorrhages a vast, impressive population of verdant, diminutive, Edenic, if seemingly hidden, pocket-parks, which to my mind abundantly reveals the premium it places on offering readily accessible urban sanctuaries for all. My own sense is the parks (Squares, etc.) aren’t so much hidden as much as optimally placed to ensure maximum use and enjoyment by those living here ….ergo every neighborhood has a raft of choices. (In my area, you can’t walk more than 5 minutes without hitting upon one).
Square Georges–Cain: An edenic refuge in Paris’ 3rd Arrondisement (Le Marais), Square Georges-Cain is a balm for soul, mind & heart. It is above all else an undemanding park: no pressure to toil for hours trying to see all its wonders. It’s a human-scaled “we work and live here but need to eventually move on” venue. It mixes history, art and urban beauty…and is but one of the momentary pauses in Paris’ perpetual beat. (Paris is chock full of mini-parks which allow you to pace yourself, rest or enjoy some alone time with that unputdownable book, or to just absorb the moment).
Square Georges-Cain borders Le musée Carnavalet, faces the Swedish Institute, and is a hop from la Muse Picasso, etc, and other mini parcs nestled in the Marais. You owe it to yourself to get there. Sit, play chess, dream, have a bite or watch the endless aerial displays of the pigeon flotillas.
Though small’ish, the Square boasts an interesting history. You can get the basics on-line but, briefly, it is named after Georges Cain who headed the Musee de Carnavalet or, Museum of the History of Paris, for 17 years. Built in 1548, its walls form part of the Square. If you imagine the Square as a Musee annex it might put the assembled pieces in perspective. On the wall adjoining the Musee are pieces from Paris’ past: a ceiling rose from the old Paris Town Hall and remnants from the Tuileiries Palace.
(I am fascinated with the clock)! Other small, quiet historical sentinels abound, graciously and serenely placed and happily ensconced. Sit for a while and the magic of the Square comes, unbidden, to you.
In the center is my favorite, the statue ‘Ile De France’ by Maillol. It is a rich creation …..proud, determined and confident. I’m unsure what the artist intended but that’s my take. Look behind and see the scarf she’s carrying. Although I’ve never heard it there’s also supposedly an artwork by Eric Samakh called ‘Le Rossingnol Electrique’, a device which uses wind to recreate a Nightingale’s song.