Sheep Lawnmowers in Paris

Named for the palace that no longer exists since succumbing to revolutionary forces of the Paris Commune, the Jardin des Tuileries stretches from the foot of the Louvre to the obelisk of Place de la Concorde and further to the Champs-Elysées.

Cooling my heels on a green park chair, basking in what I thought would be my last days in Paris (I was mistaken, happily), with the Louvre to my right and the carousel from the carnival ahead and the goats munching away.

Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, carnival, August

Just a shallow gulley separated the would-be lawn mowers from the rest of us; with red nylon cords, their unseen keeper tethered the goats. I spotted a few kids and some adults with more bravura, husbandry knowledge or gumption than me attempting to pet the billys at work.

Parisian goats as lawnmowers, Jardin des Tuileries

Apparently the trend is catching on. The higher ups at L’Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) have installed four little black sheep on a bit of grass adjacent to the City Archives.

Would Andre Le Nôtre, famed landscape architect and gardener to Sun King Louis XIV, approve? I don’t know. But, the more important question, I think, in the memory of the recent Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival at the Chicago French Market (nestled inside the Ogilvie Metra Station), I’m wondering if the milk from these sheep will also be put to its best use in the form of cheese. If it hasn’t been, it should be; I’M PRETTY SURE THIS IS SOMETHING FRANCE CAN HANDLE.

Sidenote: If it’s too hot or cold outside while enjoying the Jardin des Tuileries, Musée de L’Orangerie can provide a very nice respite. The tiny museum houses some giant tableaus of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. It’s a small and quiet place where the waterlilies can be enjoyed, if you don’t have time this trip to head to his home, garden and studio in Giverny (which can easily be achieved in a day) or the Musée d’Orsay just across the Seine.

Related Reads:

  • Visit Claude Monet’s home and garden in Giverny, France. I visited here ages ago on a guided day trip and it was spectacular.
  • Recently, goats have also been installed as the new landscape management system at Chicago’s O’hare Airport. Will some enterprising Midwestern folk make some cheese? If this were the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, perhaps some kaldereta or kilawen or pinapaitan would be in order? But I guess you wouldn’t want to eat your lawnmower, would you?

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