Gardens and public parks are as much a part of French culture as croissants and cheese. Public parks began to appear in the 19th Century. Citizens could gather on Sundays to hear the military bands performing under the gazebo and simply stroll through the park in their finest attire. These parks were particularly popular among the new middle class that was emerging during this prosperous era of French history. Today, the French continue to enjoy their parks. In urban areas, these parks are the only green spaces in the city. You can find people chatting on benches with friends, laying out on the grass enjoying a book or working on their tan. The parks provide a chance for city dwellers to connect with nature.
Growing in popularity are community gardens that are maintained by citizens rather than the city. Our students recently spent the afternoon to help volunteers in community garden in Rennes. The Global Navigators assisted volunteers in cutting willow branches to create stakes and stripping the bark. Volunteers taught the students how to weave the willow branches to create a protective barrier around the raised beds in the park.