Allotments in Arcueil

Arcueil Allotments

Arcueil and Bagneux are two suburbs in the South of Paris. A bit of an urban jungle if you ask me. These are allotments in Acrueil. Yet, as if feeding from the concrete, beautiful tulips are growing and reminding us that Spring is here. At long last.

There are quite a few allotments and gardens left in that area. Map courtesy of the association in charge of maintaining the allotments in Arcueil.

allotments in Acrueil

The only way you can survive the traffic is by taking the sneaky routes and avoiding the main roads and the dreaded “Périphérique”. But I managed to take little Brommie to the area. I was invited by Gisèle who welcomed me to visit her garden.

The entrance to Gisèle’s garden. The little milk plastic bottles are meant to protect the wooden gate.

allotments in Acrueil

Gisèle’s garden complete with fig trees (in the background), cherry and apple trees, flowers and veggies. Strawbs are growing but aren’t ripe yet, it’s too early for that. If I had a garden like this I would also grow gooseberries, just like my Grandfather. I love gooseberries. The French call them mackerelberries. How mackerels could turn into geese or the other way round I’m not sure.

allotments in Acrueil

Meet Gisèle, watering her plants on a beautiful Spring day.

Trees are everywhere, it’s beautiful. Birds are singing and one can hear them … and the traffic in the background. Just looking west makes you think you’re in the middle of the country.

Allotments became popular at the end of the nineteenth century. They were created by a priest, Abbé Lemire. He introduced many social innovations like the 11-hour working day. This would make quite a few people laugh these days. Mind you, I’d like to be granted an 11-hour working day, I could paint water colours this way. (Picture taken from that website dedicated to allotments).

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there but there is more to it. You will have to wait a little before I post the rest of the story.

Yann Gourvennec
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  1. This is gorgeous, Yann! It’s incredible to think that this lush garden exists near Paris, and yet here it is. (Figs! Imagine having figs in Paris!!) Thank you for this lovely look at Arceuil, even if now I’m even more heartbroken that it’s destined to become just another development.

    • Well… it’s a bit more complex than that. As shown on the map there are many gardens around there. As to figs, they grow quite well in the area. The climate here is rather mild. Far milder than in the North where I used to live as a child. When I moved to the region I found out that the climate here is in fact very close to that of the Loire Valley, very mild and even hot in Spring and Summer. And figs grow rather well as well as grapes (which are being planted again all over the place). In the middle ages there used to be grapes up to the Belgian border (I’m not debating on the quality though). And last Summer we tasted wine from the Isles of Scilly which was hmmm let’s say drinkable. This isn’t Minnesota here Heide, far warmer climes we have.

    • Viele Grüße aus Paris! Ich habe Berlin sehr gern und habe viele Gärten nah Friedrichstraße gesehen und Bilder mit meinem handi aufgenommen. Sie sind recht über Urban Gardening. Es gibt eine Startup der ist Agrikool genannt und sie haben gerade 35 Gärten geschafft. Jetzt wollen sie 100 FTE einstellen in Paris allein. Am meistens ist es Erdbeeren daß sie wachsen wollen. Ich habe diese Erdbeeren mal gegessen und sie schmecken gut! 🙂

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