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Paris: Parc St. Cloud

This is Rose.

See how cute she is? Sort of makes you want to get one, doesn’t it?

Well, Rose is adorable — really, she is — but only if she gets to go to the massive, 1,136-acre Parc St. Cloud just west of Paris, near the towns of St. Cloud, Boulogne, and Sevres.

Living in a tiny Paris apartment with Rose, now a seven-month old Australian Shepherd puppy, I was forced to seek out a place for her to run, and a couple of months ago, I found this park. Lucky for both of us, it’s just a short drive away, so Rose and I go to Parc St. Cloud every morning, rain or shine. She just loves it. And I do, too. Dallas girl that I am, I crave wide-open spaces and big skies, and here, for an hour each day, I find it.

Turns out Parc St. Cloud is one of the most famous French estates, built by Louis XIV, whose chateau burned down in 1870. There’s a grand cascade, too, as the park’s centerpiece, though the waterfalls haven’t been on lately.

I love this park as much as Rose does. I love its wide open spaces, and its well-worn trails through patches of hilly, not-too-thick forests; I love that we meet other dogs and dog people there, too, and she gets to play while I practice my French with the kind-hearted people that we meet along the way. I love that when we make it to the top of the hill of this park, there’s a vista that overlooks all of Paris, and on a clear day, I can see the Eiffel tower, the Seine directly below me, and in the distance, Sacre Coeur, too. It always reassures me somehow when I make it to the top and take all of this in. Even though I’ve been here nearly two years now, it still looks like a postcard to me. I know how corny that sounds, but there you are. I know I won’t be here forever, so I want to remember how this looks and how it feels to be able to see this every day.

Like I said, we go every day, but some days, like last week, when I had a cooking class to prep for and a high school friend in town, we didn’t go, and had a much shorter walk around the neighborhood instead. My bad.

This is when Rose looks for trouble.

Instead of toilet paper, however, Rose decided to eat the better part of a bed sheet. A trip to the vet and 160 euros later – for a few cans of tummy-sensitive duck and rice dog food, among other things – she was on the road to recovery.

Soon, we were back at the park, having fun again.

And she’s back to being her adorable puppy self, all 35 pounds of her.