Spring brings new life, takes you outdoors, naturally. Always a wondrous season, the air filled with vivid floral scents touches the core of your being. Most trees and bushes still carry buds while some are fully blossoming. I had almost missed the Peony bush had I not returned to that spot where a pigeon was searching for the best nest material. A very carefully selecting bird that was. When turning to the exit of the jardin botanique there it was – the Paeonia marvellous.
Behind the green leaves, there was that purple heart with golden stamens at the core of snow white petals touched by sun rays. A small bush full of buds and fully opened flowers. Bumble bees paid quick visits to each flower while people took a moment to take in this fresh Spring scene. Apparently, Peony bushes are early Spring bloomers here in the south of France but it was the first time for me to discover them. I was as surprised to notice the more common pink version.
The Spring atmosphere reminded me of a large park that is at the foot of the Calanques mountains with a forest area that is modestly cultivated. It is known for its equestrian centre, horse riding and pony riding. A location that takes you to the south of Marseille, along the sea. Montredon Park is more about hiking than strolling as it is part of the Calanques National Park.
Instructors of the equestrian centre were teaching a small group of young people horse riding but the pony section had a day off. All ponies fenced in. It gave me the opportunity to observe their mood. Some walked quietly toward me and seem to understand what a camera means. Receiving admiration and attention. Indeed, ponies are great for children who want to learn horse riding.
Crossing midway through the forest an occasional horse rider could be noticed. The park borders on a village-like landscape revealing its unique location close to the towering mountains of the Calanques. Knowing that Marseille is one of the most dynamic cities of the country, this Montredon-part of it is a natural blessing of quiet and beauty and fortunately protected by the French government.
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