Paris is a very generous city; free bikes, beauty everywhere you look, countless parks and green spaces, many with playgrounds, tennis courts, etc. This summer, Paris is also giving free painting lessons. Everything you need to know about color and composition can be found in the flowerbeds in the gardens. I've always been a huge fan of the gardeners for the Luxembourg Gardens; no matter the season, they manage to create the most extraordinary, inspiring mixtures of plant life. This summer, though, I've seen the same artistry in almost every park, including one behind the Gare de l'Est that I didn't even know existed. That one, the Parc Villemin, is certainly not listed in any upmarket guidebook, but it has the same kind of gorgeous spread for its less tony clientele. It's all here - a wild array of color complements, usually restrained in a bed to focus
on a particular combination, sophisticated textural range, with, for example, fine spidery foliage carefully balanced by larger leaves or more expansive flower forms, and clear understanding of line in the heights of flowers, leaves, and grasses. Flowers or not, the lessons of composition and color are universal.