On a trip to France for the D-Day commemoration last month, Queen Elizabeth II had only a few hours in Paris. What did she choose to see? The Paris Flower Market! (Ahem… I should say “The Queen Elizabeth II Flower Market,” as it was renamed upon the queen’s visit).
Yes, the place where I go to buy plants to replace the ones that I’ve managed to kill, or ask for advice on keeping orchids alive. The place where I bought my daughter her little pink watering can. For me, it is a prettier version of the neighborhood nursery -- because it is under pavilions dating back to 1900 and it is in Paris of course!
But it still was kind of funny that the queen chose to visit this beautiful, yet unassuming, flower market rather than one of the show-stopper sorts of attractions like the Eiffel Tower or Notre-Dame Cathedral. The queen (then a princess) had visited the market on a trip to Paris in 1948 and obviously it met with royal approval!
So is the flower market deserving of such attention? Absolutely. Plants, flowers and decorative items blending to create walkways of bright colors. A trip there is like a step into the countryside, right on the banks of the Seine. I’ve never seen it overly crowded either, making a stroll through a fun and relaxing experience.
What makes me smile is that Queen Elizabeth II, who certainly could have had the Eiffel Tower or Versailles closed for her own personal visit, actually chose a simple, lovely destination: a touch of the real Paris. Like a true Parisian, the queen carried her own umbrella that day… while the Paris mayor had an assistant carry hers!
When it comes to visiting Paris, Queen Elizabeth II has got the right plan: Veer a little bit off the beaten path and enjoy the natural beauty.