Photo Friday: Sailboats at the Tuileries in Paris

Model sail boats for rent in the Tuileries gardens in Paris

I took this picture of the rickety cart filled with handmade wooden sailboats with their much-patched sails one spring day in the Tuileries gardens in Paris.

In fact, I’ve taken pictures of these boats  and the kids sailing them every time I have visited Paris over the past 25 years. And the same man has been there renting them every single time. I’ve tried to talk to him over the years to learn a little bit more about him, where he makes the boats and mends the sails and just how long he has been doing this. But he is a cagey fellow and doesn’t like all those inquisitive questions.  His face is tanned from spending every afternoon outside in the park, summer and winter, rain or shine.

The first time I saw him my oldest daughter was just a babe in arms and she has now just announced her engagement at the age of 26! I feel like he has watched my family grow up just like he must have seen hundreds of other little kids get big and have children of their own, which they bring down to the pond to sail the boats.

I love watching the children with their fantasies writ large on their faces. As captains of their boats, they run around the pond with their sticks to push the boats off to the high seas in the middle of the pond where the wind rules.

The Tuileries Gardens

The Tuileries Gardens are the oldest gardens in Paris. They were created by Catherine de Medici as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564. Although the palace is long gone, the gardens, which were modeled after the Italian Renaissance gardens of her native Florence, remain and were opened to the public in 1667. Named after the nearby tuileries, or tile-making workshops, the gardens feature several large pools with fountains and one of these is where the beloved wooden sailboats can be found.

The Tuileries Gardens became a public park after the French Revolution.

Kids’s Activities in Paris

Sailing boats in the Tuileries are one of my favorite things to do with children in Paris. The Luxembourg Gardens on the Left Bank also has sailboat rentals as well as a guignol or puppet theater, a terrific playground with an Eiffel Tower climbing frame, an historic carousel, and pony rides on weekends.

Your say:

I’d love to hear about your favorite kids’ activities in Paris.

Sailboats in the Tuileries in Paris

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Sailboats in the Tuileries in Paris 48.862400, 2.329531

Sue Gough Henly

Sue Gough Henly is award-winning travel writer and photographer whose bi-line has appeared in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, The Guardian, The Toronto Star and all the major Australian publications. Her travel blog, Genuine Journeys, is full of insider tips on the best places for authentic experiences and luxury splurges. She is also the author of Australia’s Best Places travel app. When she doesn’t have sand between her toes or a pack on her back, she writes about food, wine and culture.

2 comments to Photo Friday: Sailboats at the Tuileries in Paris

  • Jenny Johnson  says:

    I love the model sailboats in the Tuileries. Thank you for bringing back great memories.

    • Sue Gough Henly  says:

      You’re welcome!

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